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 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.