Tag Archives: Precolonial Forest Gardens

Nation gathers to celebrate historic court victory

Editor’s note: In April the BC Supreme Court recognised the Nuchatlaht First Nation claim to part of Nootka Island. The parcel in question consists of about 5% of their traditional territory, which is now under Nuchatlaht control. Nootka Island is 140 km from Cortes Island, as the crow flies, but there are many unresolved aboriginal rights and title issues in our immediate area. Stories about how these issues are being dealt with, and hopefully resolved, are of great local interest.

One of the evidences of Nuchatlaht agricultural practises cited in the article that follows is culturally-modified trees. In a previous interview, Dr Chelsea Armstrong told Cortes Currents that while she has not heard any reports of them in the traditional territories of the Homalco, Klahoose and Tla’amin people, “really it’s a researcher bias. It’s only where I’ve worked and where my colleagues have worked.”

Windspeaker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After its recent historic legal victory—winning the first-ever trial award of Aboriginal title in the British Columbia Supreme Court—Nuchatlaht First Nation celebrated with a community gathering and feast.

The nation invited community members, supporters and friends for speeches, prayer and a shared meal in Campbell River June 1.

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Precolonial Forest Gardens and Orchards

Dr Chelsey Geralda Armstrong is an associate professor from SFU and the lead author of a paper, about the ancient forest gardens in Nuu-chah-nulth territory, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. While individual species do grow in the wild, forest gardens and orchards exhibit a sophisticated understanding of cultivation and are found adjacent to ancient village sites. In a related study, Armstrong and her colleagues wrote that forest gardens largely disappeared around the time of the smallpox epidemic that swept through B.C’s Indigenous communities more than 150 years ago.

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