A Brief History of Broom and Gorse in British Columbia

The broom (Cytisus scoparius) and gorse (Ulex europaeus) are invasive shrub plants that have been the subject of studies and eradication campaigns (see Brandes et. al. 2019; Rodriguez et. al. 2011; Leblank 2001; Syrett et. al. 1999; Zielke et. al. 1992; Frisk 1964;). Some people like their beautiful blooms but more people are concerned with their overwhelming of native species and the pain caused by the sharp spines of the gorse. Both species originated in the Mediterranean region of western Europe and have been introduced to other parts of the world where they compete successfully with native plants. Broom is suited to the mild maritime climate found on the coast of British Columbia. These plants are a serious fire hazard. … Continue reading “A Brief History of Broom and Gorse in British Columbia”

Indigenous Bark Beaters in Coastal British Columbia

Were they Introduced from Polynesia? Preface Over the years from the 1970s to 2000, I had interesting discussions with Thor Heyerdahl during his research visits to the Royal B.C. Museum. I came to have a good understanding of his changing philosophy. Thor began his interests in British Columbia when he visited Bella Coola in 1939-1940 to compare petroglyphs at Thorsen Creek with Polynesian art forms. Unlike some of his critics, I read his scientific publications as well as his popular books. He was, on occasion, dismissed in the academic world, for some of his ideas that he had long given up. I assisted Thor in examining Museum artifacts he was interested in for possible Polynesian connections and suggested some myself … Continue reading “Indigenous Bark Beaters in Coastal British Columbia”

The Shuttle-cock Lure. Fishing around the Salish Sea

By Grant Keddie The shuttle-cock lure and spear, was a unique form of technology used to catch mostly the larger lingcod and rockfish. The fisherman used this device at low tide from anchored canoes or rock points that overlooked kelp beds. The lure would be pushed down deep with a separate pole that was quickly pulled away from it. The lure then spun toward the surface, the fish darted after it and was speared when it came near the surface. The spear was 4.5 to 6 meters long. It consisted of two or three, unbarbed, fir shafts on the end. The shafts were about 4cm thick, 46cm long and about 10 cm apart at their tips (Swan 1870; Jennes 1934-35; … Continue reading “The Shuttle-cock Lure. Fishing around the Salish Sea”

Jimmy Fraser the Songhees Story Teller

By Grant Keddie. In 1941, World War II was on. At the age of 72, Jimmy Fraser (Kin-Kay-nun; Unthame, Cheachlacth) of the Songhees Nation, stood next to his fellow band members Jack Dick, Roddy Stewart, Art Hall, Clarence Dick, Richard Albany, Dave Fallardeau and Louis Kamai, at the Esquimalt dock yards, famous for their ship building. The Songhees were being praised for their contribution to the war effort. Like so many other Indigenous people then and before in World War 1, they contributed to the Canadian war effort. The Songhees were being singled out for the work they were doing at the dock yards. The foreman at the dockyards said the Songhees “were the best workers he ever had”. (Colonist … Continue reading “Jimmy Fraser the Songhees Story Teller”

Indigenous Combs of British Columbia

By Grant Keddie. Preface Combs are artifacts used by many cultures around the world over thousands of years. They are used primarily for disentangling and arranging the hair, but also as decorative items for holding the hair and head pieces, they have evolved into symbols of status or authority and cultural identity. To make a point, I show an extreme physical example of an Ashanti comb from Ghana in figure 1. Large Ashanti prestige combs were given by men to women as an act of devotion and commitment. In the 1970s, African combs took on a role in African American culture and politics where they became a sign of solidarity to the Black Power movement as a cultural statement. Combs … Continue reading “Indigenous Combs of British Columbia”