The Archaeology and Ethnology of Wedges on the Northwest Coast

2018. By Grant Keddie Introduction Wooden and antler wedges are a common tool found in the Northwest Coast cultural area of North America. The purpose of this article is to drive a wedge into our current thinking about wedges and to stimulate further research by making some observations based on Royal B.C. Museum archaeological and ethnological artifacts. I combine this view of collections with my own background experience in working with wedges. Wedges are commonly known to have been used for splitting fire wood, for the manufacture of posts and planks used in house construction, household items such as boxes and bowls, and for the whole process of canoe making from cutting down trees to splitting the tree trunks and … Continue reading “The Archaeology and Ethnology of Wedges on the Northwest Coast”

Beyond “Spirit Bears”

May 10, 2019. By Grant Keddie Introduction In 2006, the “Spirit bear” was adopted as the provincial mammal of British Columbia. The term “Spirit Bear” has to a large extent been overused as a media hype word. It has often been misinterpreted as a direct aboriginal name of a unique type or species of bear. The circular movement of information between indigenous peoples and popular writers, have created some modern myths such as comments that white bears, also referred to as “ghost bears”, were not traditionally hunted. Today they are referred to as a subspecies of black bear called Ursus americanus kermodei. The environmental movement of the western world has over-simplified the portrayal of all white coloured black bears by … Continue reading “Beyond “Spirit Bears””