Strengthening Kitselas First Nation's land claims
For more than a decade I've had the great honor and privilege of working with Kitselas First Nation in Northern British Columbia. My doctoral supervisor, mentor, and friend, Dr. Derek Smith introduced me to members of the Kitselas Treaty Office in 2001 when he invited me to work with him as a research assistant in the archives of the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau Quebec. Derek had begun his work with Kitselas in the early 1980s, as part of an archaeology team working with Kitselas Elders and community members to excavate one of Kitselas' ancient village sites in the Kitselas Canyon, on the Skeena River. Over the years, Derek and I spent many months in the archives together, where he taught me much of his own knowledge about Kitselas history and culture, and where we worked to piece together the nuanced stories of Kitselas-Settler relations and contact since the mid 18th century. It has been such a great privilege for me to continue working with Kitselas and to build upon the extensive work of my own teacher and mentor.
Most recently, I have been working with Kitselas in support of their treaty process. And I have also had the opportunity to assist their Lands and Resource Office in conducting a series of traditional use studies highlighting Kitselas harvesting practices within their traditional territories on the north coast of British Columbia. This community-based research has been used by Kitselas in support of their Indigenous rights and title impacted by proposed and occurring major resource development projects within their traditional territories.
Read an article from Kitselas' Monthly Newsletter the Canyon Current highlighting some of this research.