Archeological dig a fantastic learning experience for everyone

Shannon Hurst's My Town column.

Last year we wrote a series on the history of the Hazeltons and throughout the years I have learned so many intriguing things about our diverse and amazing area.

Yet once again I learned even more about the area last week when the archaeological team showed up on the side of the canyon in Hagwilget. While I knew about the accidental unearthing of human remains by BC Hydro five years ago, and I had heard rumour of the area being an ancient burial site, there is still so much more to learn.

First off, the great group from the Smithers-based company Crossroads Cultural Resource Management and their project leader Rick Budhwa have gone above and beyond to respect and conserve the culture of the Wet’suwet’en village of Hagwilget. I was so impressed to learn they had hired residents and even a few youth to help out and learn from the experience. The fact that education was a huge part of their goal was such a great asset to our area and by the sounds of it, they have inspired several people helping out to consider pursuing a career in archaeology or other related fields.

Furthermore they had helpful and informative brochures to hand out to the many locals and tourists who stopped by to investigate the strange going’s on along the side of the road. The brochure talked about the history of the area, the current project and the team itself and truly answered many questions most people might have. They also used some of the great old pictures of the area, one of which was a photo of the old village site down in the canyon. It was a photo I had never seen before and quite impressive to say the least.

The group has also gone to great lengths to inform the members and residents of the village every step of the way and it is quite refreshing to see two diverse groups work so well together. Add to that the exciting things they are finding, and all in all, it is a great experience. I was so happy to hear that the artifacts they are finding along with the documentation of what they learned will be made available to people in the fall and I look forward to getting a chance to have a peek at their discoveries. A huge ‘congrats’ to the Hagwilget Village and the team for handling a sensitive situation with class and respect. While they should be wrapped up this week people can stop by the site to ask for a brochure or contact Rick Budhwa via his website at www.crossroadscrm.com.

Shannon Hurst writes the weekly My Town column.

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