Archaeology professor Rudy Reimer, out on a grease trail (trade trail) in B.C., standing next to a culturally modified tree. The blaze on the tree marked the trail in case of snow, or could also indicate a branch in the trail. These paths were called grease trails because First Nations people carried ooilican (fish) grease to the interior for trade.

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The Wild Archaeology experience—a new form of indigenous archaeology

October 04, 2017
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By Diane Luckow

SFU archaeology professor Rudy Reimer has just returned from a summer of filming for season two of APTN’s television show, “Wild Archaeology.” It is the first documentary TV series to explore the archaeological record of Canada’s indigenous peoples from their point of view.

Now, Reimer, host of the show, will kick off SFU’s annual President’s Faculty Lecture Series with a free presentation on Tues., Oct. 10, 7:00 p.m. at the Harbour Centre campus. He’ll discuss “Wild Archaeology’s” behind-the-scenes work, as well as the experience and challenge of sharing indigenous archaeology with TV viewers.

“The show brings to life over 12,000 years of human history in Canada,” says Reimer, a member of the Squamish Nation. “It conveys a culturally informed sense of the past that includes some really cool science and archaeology.”

The series also showcases how archaeologists are collaborating with local First Nations communities to discover and tell these ancient histories.

The first season of 13 episodes, which aired last year and is now available online, explored indigenous archaeology from coast to coast to coast. It took two summers to film, often in remote and hard-to-reach locations such as the Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Arctic.  

The second season, which has not yet completed filming, will examine how studying the ancient past is benefiting modern First Nations communities.

“It features current, cutting-edge research in collaboration with First Nations peoples that will change how we understand the past,” says Reimer.

The President’s Faculty Lecture Series is an annual public program that features outstanding SFU faculty and their research.