A Hat Makers Bone Tool

Introduction Many of the artifacts recovered by archaeologists have no ethnographic counterpart in museum collections. Most Indigenous ethnographic artifacts are made of wood. Rarer examples of bone or antler artifacts in ethnographic collections, with documentation, become important to help identify the use of some archaeological artifacts. The Bone Tool One unique artifact, in the Indigenous collections of the Royal B.C. Museum, is a bone tool described as a hat makers’ knife. The example was collected by Kwakwaka’wakw, George Hunt, in 1899, and sold to Charles Newcombe in 1901. Its ethnic origin is identified as Nahwitti, Kwakwaka’wakw. This artifact, number RBCM1252 (old #19074), was listed in the original catalogue by Charles Newcombe as: “Bone knife (Kwetani). Of the mountain goat. Used … Continue reading “A Hat Makers Bone Tool”

Mat Creasers and Cattails

By Grant Keddie.   April 10, 2023. Introduction Cattail (Typha latifolia) mats were one of the most prolific artifacts found in traditional cultures in coastal areas of southern British Columbia and northwestern Washington State. They were used to construct the walls and roofs of temporary shelters at fishing camps, for insulating walls in winter houses, as covers to protect canoes and their contents, for light baskets, for bedding, sitting on and as mats for storing food and preparing food on. What are called mat creasers were important tools used in the production of a number of these cultural items. A mat creaser was an important tool that, used in conjunction with a needle, crimped the split cattail reeds in order to … Continue reading “Mat Creasers and Cattails”

Indigenous Peoples and Potato Cultivation

February 3, 2023. By Grant Keddie Introduction During the early period of European exploration and settlement, on what became the Colony of Vancouver Island, outsiders often spoke of the great skills of indigenous people in acquiring specific foods. However, the planning that went into Indigenous resource management practices was not recognized. Activities such as the organizing and placing of tied fir branches in inlets to collect herring eggs were not recognized as a form of aquaculture – which today they would be. Just as today we use the term oyster farms, would we not have to call the latter practice herring egg farming? The bias of Europeans as to what they considered forms of farming was clearly toward land-based agriculture. … Continue reading “Indigenous Peoples and Potato Cultivation”

Fireweed Clothing. Evidence of Its Use by the Snuneymuxw First Nations of Vancouver Island.

Originally Published in The Midden, 46(3&4), 14-17. By Grant Keddie.  2016 Small fragments of woven material were found along with other items in a burial cave site on Gabriola Island in 1971. The Burial remains and associated artifacts were brought to the (then) Provincial Museum to protect the material that was being removed by unknown persons. Artifacts found in the cave included bracelets of copper and brass, shell pendants, a stone bead, a green glass wire wound Chinese made bead, a woven rattle head and bark matting, in addition to the small fragments of unidentified woven material. This assemblage of material suggested that the woven material likely dated to around the late 18th to early 19th century. In 2001, the … Continue reading “Fireweed Clothing. Evidence of Its Use by the Snuneymuxw First Nations of Vancouver Island.”