Sage Vanier

MA Student, Dana Lepofsky

MA Defence January 14, 2022, 10:00am, online

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Entangled Legacies: The Historical Ecology of a Sts’ailes First Nation Forest Garden, SW British Columbia


Dana Lepofsky, Professor, Supervisor
Chelsey Armstrong, Assistant Professor, Indigenous Studies, Committee Member
Darcy Mathews, Assistant Professor, UVic, Examiner
John Welch, Professor, Chair


Globally, researchers are increasingly using the archaeological, paleoecological, and ecological records to demonstrate the longstanding connection of Indigenous peoples to culturally valuable landscapes. On the Northwest Coast of North America, forest gardens are a legacy ecosystem that allows for the study of past human-plant interactions and traditional resource and environmental management strategies of descendant communities through time. For the Sts’ailes in southern British Columbia, such ecosystem legacies are evident around ancient settlements nestled between sloughs along the Harrison River. In collaboration with a Sts’ailes eco-cultural restoration project, we explore the historical ecology of one such area by using a variety of methods including vegetation surveys, soil charcoal, GPS mapping, historical air photos, tree coring, and interviews with Sts'ailes knowledge-holders. Our results demonstrate continued connection of people to the waterways and plants surrounding the ancient villages of Seklw.tsel (Phillips site) and Yā.ketel (John Mac site) over nearly 3,000 years.