Layered Histories Archival and Website Project

Xwe’etay/Lasqueti is an island steeped in history.  We’re just beginning to understand the depth of that history, beginning at least 7000 years ago with the first Indigenous visitors.  Since that time, and continuing to today, 1000’s of people have been part of creating layers of our island’s historical record.  Today, as Kathy Schultz once said, “we’re all walking on someone else’s history”.

The Layered Histories Project is borne out of the desire to document these histories.  A sister project to the Xwe’etay/Lasqueti Archaeology Project (XLAP), the goal is to assemble various kinds of historical documentation into an archive and ultimately into an interactive website.

One of the goals of our research is understand how the landscape has changed over time.  To do this, we’re compiling information from early survey data, early journals and photographs, and air photos (1932 onward).  Gordon Scott with his background in Geography is helping us understand ecological changes. Andrew Fall is modeling where streams were and which could have been used for drinking and/or salmon in pre-logging times.  Julia Woldmo is conducting interviews with island long-timers to document their observations of ecological changes.  Collectively, we’re learning a lot about how people of the past – settler and Indigenous –lived on our island.   

All this information is being uploaded into a digital archives designed for the Layered Histories project. The archives will allow a user to read about specific places, people, or species by searching with the appropriate key word or phrase.  At the request of some donors, some information may have restricted access and only be visible to family members.

In a few years, our dream is to turn the archives into a beautiful, place-based website that allows the user to explore the history of particular island places and how they are connected to other places.  For instance, imagine zooming in on the Lasqueti cemetery and seeing the map that the XLAP team created of the graves.  Then click on one of the settler graves to read their life story and see photos.  Imagine further that on reading you find this person lived in xxx bay some 60 years ago.  Now you can click on the link for xxx bay and experience its full history – as documented in the archaeological, ecological, archival and memory records.  The possibilities are vast.

If you have any information or documentation you’d like to share with the Layered Histories project, please contact Julia Woldmo.

-- Dana Lepofsky