Ancestral pictograph near Kalagwees, Kalugwis, or Karlukwees or Qalogwis—the home community of the Tlowitsis Nation of the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples of the Johnstone Strait region of the South Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Brodie Guy.

A pictograph panel at Kalagwees on Turnour Island, one of the many sites mapped and assessed by Tlowitis Guardians. Photo by Brodie Guy.

Tlowitsis First Nation records 370 archaeological sites on traditional territories across B.C.

Tlowitsis First Nation has recorded 370 archaeological sites within their traditional territories spread around the coast of northern Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait and mainland inlets.

In a report, the First Nation guardian watchmen and archaeologists from Inlailawatash – a Vancouver based, Tsleil-Waututh Nation-owned archaeology firm–highlighted numerous sites of cultural importance in their territories.

Between 2016 and 2019, Tlowitsis Guardians visited 130 recorded and newly identified sites to assess their locations and overall site condition. In 2018 and 2019 the Guardians assessed 63 previously recorded sites and also identified 29 new ones.

The new sites included unique burial-box sites with grave goods, pictographs, village and defensive sites.

The work was done to ensure that these sites are protected from human or natural disturbances and to take care of the Tlowitsis heritage. These sites are important to the First Nations as they are considered a physical and spiritual link to their ancestors.

“We know that our ancestors lived on our traditional lands for more than a thousand years. When we look at the evidence that is left behind by our ancestors, it gives us a better understanding of how they lived, and it also helps us fill in the missing pieces of the picture of how we got to where we are now,” said
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