Hedley Cave Site DhRa-2

2005. By Grant Keddie The Chuchawaytha Rock Shelter Pictographs. Since reading the Midden article by Darius Kruger (2005), I thought I should add some unique information to his favorite ancestral site – the Chuchawaytha Rock Shelter, DhRa-2. This Similkameen region site has been referred to in earlier literature as the Hedley cave site. There has been some confusion regarding this location perpetuated by non-First Nation stories about early visits by Spaniards. Two clusters of images referred to as “the horseback riders” and “the prisoners” have often been misinterpreted by non-First Nations, as a single unit that represents Spaniards on horseback with ropes tied around the necks of a group of First Nation prisoners. This interpretation is an attempt by non-First Nations to fit these images with … Continue reading “Hedley Cave Site DhRa-2”


Compiled by Grant Keddie. 1982. Introduction The following typescript is from a handwritten letter sent in 1918 by James Teit of Spence’s Bridge, to Francis Kermode – then director of the Provincial Museum of Natural History [now the Royal B.C. Museum]. The original is in the James A. Teit Papers, Mss M3689 in the Glenbow Alberta Institute Archives. It is not known who typed the version I have. I have re-typed it to make it available electronically. The typescript is double spaced on four legal size pages. I have single-spaced it, but did not make any other changes. I left miss-spellings, grammatical errors, the one bracketed word “Render”, and some very long paragraphs. This is an important document, as it was written after Teit had traveled widely and had studied … Continue reading “JAMES TEIT DOCUMENT ON ROCK PAINTING”

The Man Who Fell From Heaven Petroglyph

1995. Compiled by Grant Keddie In the collection of the RBCM, is a cast of a unique petroglyph or rock carving that – unlike most petroglyphs – has an associated story. This story was recorded by Harlan I. Smith in 1936. The location, archaeological site GbTo-39,is on Robertson Point on the Metlakatla First Nation Reserve near Prince Rupert, British Columbia: “The origin of this petroglyph is explained by some of the Tsimshian Indians in the following story. An important Indian man, to astonish the people, said he was going up to the sky. He disappeared, but came back home some days later as he could not stay hid very long for lack of food. He explained to the people that he had … Continue reading “The Man Who Fell From Heaven Petroglyph”

Social Patterning in “Rock Art”
And Other Symbolic Objects of the
Interior Salish

1974. By Grant Keddie When undertaking the analysis of the organizational and symbolic content of rock art one would assume that the first step would be to base such studies on a locally derived ethnographic model. Such is often not the case as one still reads statements to the effect that rock art cannot be interpreted as it is the product of some individual psychic experience. If one takes the time to read the existing literature it is clear that most rock art representation is a product of specific kinds of social conditioning. The imagery of the art is not a random factor but a culturally controlled and cultivated phenomena. Among the Interior Salish spirit identity and the power, which a spirit gave, were associated with visible fabricated … Continue reading “Social Patterning in “Rock Art”
And Other Symbolic Objects of the
Interior Salish”

Petroglyphs, Heaven and Earth

By Grant Keddie For up to thousands of years, figures have been carved in stone along the beaches and in forests stretching around the Pacific Rim from California to China. Some of the human face and animal design elements found in British Columbia show interesting parallels with those found along the coast of Siberia. One of the most common questions I am asked in regard to these rock carvings or petroglyphs is what are they, and what do they mean? Were these designs pecked into the rock by a shaman for a special purpose? We cannot understand these images by trying to analyze them from the perspective of our modern culture. We need to look to traditional aboriginal cultures that … Continue reading “Petroglyphs, Heaven and Earth”