Inland Lifeways of Haida Gwaii 400-1700 CE [article]

Karen Church, University Of Calgary, University Of Calgary, Gerald Oetelaar
The inland lifeways of the northwest Pacific archipelago, Xaadlaa gwaayee (Haida Gwaii, British Columbia), have not been the subject of intensive archaeological inquiry. The routes of precontact inland trails are no longer well known due to the decimation of the local population in the 18th and 19th centuries. Industrial logging is threatening to destroy archaeological evidence of the inland trail network, and therefore this inquiry is timely. The largest and most topographically diverse
more » ... Graham, has been the subject of many archaeological impact assessments that have documented hundreds of archaeological sites, most of them containing culturally modified trees. In this thesis, I use a landscape archaeology approach in which I access the local gyaahlang (legendary stories), conduct a brief research into the words and place names associated with inland lifeways, and provide an analysis of historic accounts and maps of the study area. As a mother of xaadaa children and an archaeologist who worked in inland areas and lead an indigenous lifestyle on Graham Island for 22 years, I naturally have a phenomenological perspective of the island and use this experience as the lens through which I interpret the results of this research. The local indigenous language, Xaad Kil, also guides my interpretation. The results are combined within a geographic information system where I use spatial analysis, including a series of least cost path analyses to help define potential archaeological survey corridors along proposed inland pathways. I also compare historic aerial photography with current orthophotos to assess changes to wetlands over the last century and to evaluate the archaeological potential associated with caribou hunting. Finally, three dimensional views of the landscape are used to assess the patterned distribution of culturally modified trees in relation to the least cost paths and ethnographic data, in an effort to refine the archaeological potential model for inland areas of Graham Island.
doi:10.11575/prism/26535 fatcat:gvg7oqg4e5e35e2gh7smca4pcy