This spring, Crossroads conducted a recovery in Moricetown, BC. The site (which had previously been disturbed) revealed bone fragments and cultural artifacts when machinery was brought in to install a staircase. Digging on reserve can be tricky business — the recovery of bone fragments and artifacts requires working closely with the community for a better understanding of cultural concerns. This three-minute video offers a glimpse of life on an archaeological excavation, along with highlighting the challenges and rewards that come with cultural resource management work.
When we started Crossroads CRM in 2004, it was a response to the business-as-usual, focus-on-the-material archaeology that was happening across the province. We thought it could—in fact, it should— be done differently. We believed there was a place for integrating the material remains of a culture with the living, breathing people that still occupy the lands, that still honour their ancestors. That’s why we were thrilled to receive a call from the Xaxli’p First Nation in May 2016.
Last week, Crossroads had the privilege of not only presenting at the world’s most prestigious archaeology conference, we were honoured to do it next to colleagues who have come to mean a lot to us.
Crossroads Cultural Resource Management is proud to launch our new website. This is a big deal for us. Many brains and many hands went into making this new site a reality and we couldn’t be happier with the result.
Last month, Crossroads lost two shining lights in its immediate community. Both had a significant impact not just on their respective communities, but on Crossroads and the work we do here. I’d like to tell you a little about them.
In October, Crossroads sent a team into Kemess Mine in north-central B.C. to do an archaeological impact assessment for its proposed Kemess Underground Project. The team experienced stunning high-alpine vistas and found evidence of past use in the area, on the periphery of the proposed mine site.
Vera Poole from the Tsay Keh Dene and Margo French from Takla Lake First Nation joined Crossroads’ Jocelyn Franks, Dana Evaschuk and Sarah Weber as they assessed the proposed underground mine and its potential impacts on local culture in early October. Along with supporting the crew, the First Nations women contributed extensive amounts of local knowledge.
Crossroads was deeply humbled to be involved in a recent archaeology project with the Osoyoos Indian Band. On April 30, the band’s Lands Directorate made a phone call to our senior archaeologist Meghan Fisher, asking her to “Come take a look at some bones…”
The Cultural Heritage of the Skeena and Bulkley Valley field school, led by Crossroads CRM director Rick Budhwa for Northwest Community College, incorporates First Nations history with cultural resource management over three weeks each spring. The course provides a history of First Nations and the influences upon them going back 10,000 years, through European contact up until present day. It discusses influences of colonialism and understanding First Nations’ role in the overall history of B.C. Australian journalist Alicia Bridges audited the course and describes her experience.
On Aug. 15, 2011, when we stepped onto the site in Hagwilget where BC Hydro had accidentally disturbed a centuries-old burial ground and unleashed years of upheaval for the community five years earlier, the Crossroads team didn’t know what we’d find. We knew that it would be sensitive and we knew that it would be profound. We knew that we needed to document the story as it unfolded. The community’s voice, and the turbulence it had experienced, needed to be shared so this situation would never happen again.
A recent family vacation to Costa Rica and Nicaragua re-affirmed why I travel internationally. While some people experience discomfort from not being within their cultural context, I actually draw a lot of security from it. Waking up early, the hectic nature of meeting schedules in a different country with a different language and different culture, at times feeling unsafe or threatened—these are things I went looking for and it’s what I got. It felt like a vacation.