A Modern Stone Figure on a Lekwungen Landscape

By Grant Keddie 2021. By Grant Keddie In the summer of 2020, I recovered a large 240 lb stone figure with a team of four others from the waters near Finlayson Point on the southern shores of Victoria (see Appendix 1). At the time I looked at the cultural context and physical evidence and determined that I would treat the cultural landscape and oral history as the more favourable evidence that the stone figure was likely to be an old Indigenous ritual figure. It turned out that I initially erred on suggesting that the stone figure was an old one when a modern-day stone carver told the media that he carved the stone. Here I provide a summary of how … Continue reading “A Modern Stone Figure on a Lekwungen Landscape”

Genetics and Neanderthal

By Grant Keddie Genetics, diseases, modern humans and our close relatives. Our Developing Nervous system One of the keys to understanding modern diseases is through their genetic evolution and how that can contribute to where we focus research to eliminate them.  One of the latest fascinating discoveries may be relevant to the study of modern common neurological diseases such as parkinson’s, dementia, seizures, strokes and migraine headaches.   There is a new field of study that involves a combination of stem cell biology, neuroscience and paleogenomics.  This involves the ability to apply the comparative approach of modern human genetics to our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, using brain organoids. A brain organoid is an artificially grown miniature organ resembling … Continue reading “Genetics and Neanderthal”

The Victoria Legislative Building Properties and Indigenous Peoples

By Grant Keddie The properties on which our legislative buildings are now located in Victoria Harbour are within the traditional territory of the Lekwungen First Nations, today represented by the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. There is clear evidence in the form of written documents and maps that James Douglas intended this property to become an Indigenous Reserve as part of the treaty settlements of 1850. (See Appendix 1: The Paper Reserve.) The legislative property is shown on this 1862 map to the left of lot VI belonging to James Douglas. It is located at the southern foot of the James Bay Bridge. (BC Archives 11520A. Part of Beckley Farm No.4.) The Lekwungen people were rightfully compensated, in November of 2006, … Continue reading “The Victoria Legislative Building Properties and Indigenous Peoples”

The 1843 Observations of the Lekwungen People by Jean Baptiste Zacharie Bolduc.

During the first visits of Hudson’s Bay Company officials to Victoria Harbour—William McNeil in 1837 and McNeil with John Work and John McLoughlin in 1839—there was no information recorded about the Indigenous Lekwungen peoples of the area. (Keddie 2003) The first information was recorded in 1842 during the visit of the company’s James Douglas to settle on the location of the future Fort Camosun—later Fort Victoria. It was during Douglas’s second visit in 1843 that he brought along the Québécois Jesuit Jean Baptiste Zacharie Bolduc, a missionary who was part of the Quebec Mission to the Pacific Northwest (fig. 1). The accounts of the Bolduc provide some of the most important observations of the Indigenous peoples in the Victoria region, more so than … Continue reading “The 1843 Observations of the Lekwungen People by Jean Baptiste Zacharie Bolduc.”

The Victoria Smallpox Epidemic of 1862

By Grant Keddie Preface One of the great tragedies in the History of British Columbia was the smallpox epidemic of 1862-63, which killed thousands of Indigenous peoples. A previous pandemic spreading across northern North America from the western Atlantic coast hit British Columbia around 1780, before non-Indigenous settlement in the region. Estimates from other documented areas would suggest that at least 80% of the population may have died from this first introduction of smallpox into the region. This massive interruption would have resulted in the re-alignment of Indigenous societies. In early 1853, a smallpox epidemic spread from the Columbia River to Neah Bay on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, causing a heavy death toll in that area. George Gibbs … Continue reading “The Victoria Smallpox Epidemic of 1862”

Bird Leg Rings

Bird Leg Rings on the Northwest Coast? By Grant Keddie There are a variety of small artifacts found on the Northwest Coast that are often assumed to be forms of body adornment. Some of these likely had other functions. Three examples described here, might normally be assumed to be pendants. I think we should consider the possibility that these may have been used as bird leg rings for holding live decoy birds or pets. A common type of artifact in Polynesia is the kaka poria or bird leg ring made of stone or whale, bird and human bone. They were used to hold tame kaka birds (Nestor meridionalis) as a decoy for capturing wild birds in the forest (Phillips 1955:145). … Continue reading “Bird Leg Rings”

Dogs of Siberia. Food for Thought on Indigenous dogs of British Columbia.

2022. By Grant Keddie. Introduction Studies on Indigenous dogs and wolfs have greatly expanded in recent years with an emphasis on genetic evolution and isotopic analysis to examine regional differences in food consumption, numbers and other cultural patterns (Fedge et. al. 2021; Peri et. al. 2021; Albizuri et. al. 2021; Ramos-Madrigal et. al. 2021; Coelho et. al. 2021; Feuerborn et. al, 2021; McKechnie et. al. 2020; Frantz et. al. 2020; Bergstrom et, al, 2020; Mikkel-Holger 2020; Hillis et. al. 2020; Harris 2020; Sinding 2020; Ameen et. al. 2019; Leathlobhair et. al. 2018; Losey et. al. 2018 & 2020; Germonpre, Mietje et. al. 2017; Lee et. al. 2015; Shannon et. al. 2015; Ames et. al. 2015; Loftus et. al. 2014; Asch … Continue reading “Dogs of Siberia. Food for Thought on Indigenous dogs of British Columbia.”

James Keddie and the Legend of the Dragon’s Hole of Kinnoull Hill, Perth, Scotland.

By Grant Keddie, The legend of the Dragon’s Hole on Kinnoull Hill outside Perth, is about dragons, magic stones, Beltane rituals, Christian appropriation, an echoing hollow, the Scottish hero Wallace’s hide out, Saints and one of my prankster ancestors James Keddie. Through his actions around 1600, James Keddie, a tailor living in Perth, managed to wedge himself into the story. The legend has become a blend of different versions from different times. Changes in names and places in stories take a different focus for new story tellers, as I do here by providing more of a highlight on one of my ancestors and their role in this convoluted story of the Dragon’s Hole. The Setting The scene of the dragon’s … Continue reading “James Keddie and the Legend of the Dragon’s Hole of Kinnoull Hill, Perth, Scotland.”