“The Historical Ecology of Cultural Keystone Species and Places of the Northwest Coast”
February 4th, Thursday, at 11:30 – 1:00pm ANSO 134, 6303 Marine Dr
Dr. Dana Lepofsky, Professor of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University.
ABSTRACT: Cultural Keystone Places (CKPs) are landscapes that hold particular importance to the identity and well-being of cultural groups today. I introduce three CKPs of the Northwest Coast: Hauyat, Laxgalts’ap (Old Town), and Dałk Gyilakyaw (Robin Town) (territories of Heiltsuk, Gitga’ata, and Gitsm’geelm, respectively). Our team brings together the data and knowledge gleaned from interviews, oral histories, and ecological, archaeological, and botanical studies to recreate the deep and recent histories of these cultural landscapes. Archaeological features at each CKP are situated within expansive landscapes transformed by generations of people interacting with their surrounding environments. Extensive management and use of culturally valued resources and ecosystems – reflected in a continuum of native fruit orchards, berry gardens, intertidal root gardens, and clam gardens – belies the appellation of Northwest Coast peoples as “hunter-gatherers”. We use websites and touch screens to share the historical secrets held within the lands, water, and ecosystems of these special places.
BIO: Dana Lepofsky is a professor in the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University. She is interested in past human-environmental interactions and in situating this information in current social and ecological contexts.