Youth from Nenqayni Wellness Centre participated in a two-day workshop doing excavation, cleaning and analyzing of artifacts with Sugar Cane Archaeology at Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)

Youth from Nenqayni Wellness Centre participated in a two-day workshop doing excavation, cleaning and analyzing of artifacts with Sugar Cane Archaeology at Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)

First Nations youth get hands on archaeological experience

Delving into the ancient past has inspired the future aspirations of four First Nations youth

Delving into the ancient past has inspired the future aspirations of four First Nations youth.

For two days in early August four teenage girls from Nenqayni Wellness Centre Society north of Williams Lake spent time in the field with a team of archaeologists from the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN).

WLFN natural resources co-ordinator Brittany Cleminson said Sugar Cane Archaeology, a WLFN entity, was approached by Angie Brinoni, the program co-ordinator at Nenqayni, asking if such a hands-on experience was possible.

“She wanted us to show them what an artifact is and how we find them,” Cleminson told the Tribune. “The girls were so excited about going back to their home communities and applying for archaeology work. They want to learn more and are coming back next week to tour our lab.”

On the first day the youth did some book learning right at an excavation site on-reserve near Highway 97 and Sutton Road.

The site was uncovered during a slide in Aug. 2019. They were split into two groups and one worked with Cleminson doing digging and the other group with Whitney Spearing, project manager, doing cleaning and analyzing.

Read more: Artifacts uncovered at Sugar Cane site near Williams Lake could be 4,000 years old

The groups switched on the second day and then everyone gathered for drumming, prayers, and a round table.

“It was a beautiful full circle thing,” Cleminson said, noting during the time the youth were there they found about 150 new artifacts. There were no formed tools, but there was the point of a broken knife and lots of little flakes.

Brinoni said she was extremely grateful the youth were able to participate in such an ‘amazing experience.’

“Whitney and Brittany were able to ignite the curiosity and interest of all the participants,” she said. “The youth engaged in all aspects of the dig asking questions, logging artifacts and learning so many fascinating facts about the incredible history of this area. I sincerely hope that we will be able to continue to share this incredible experience with as many of our youths as possible.”

Responses from the youth were equally enthusiastic and because of privacy their names cannot be included.

One said she had so much fun and found that Cleminson and Spearing knew so much about her culture.

“Learning the history was cool and that the ancestors were here so many thousands of years ago right up to 150 to 200 years ago it was amazing. I would love to come back and work for the summer.”

All four youth will receive a letter of recognition and a reference they can use to build their job and career skills, Cleminson said.

Another youth said she wants to find out what she needs to study in school so she can become an archaeologist.

“I would to like learn more about our history. I am hoping to come back for a summer internship,” she said.

For a third youth the opportunity was inspiring. She said Cleminson and Spearing were smart and taught them much in a short time about their ancestors and what tools they used and how they lived.

“I would love to spend a summer digging with them it would be amazing. I am going to try to contact representatives in my band to maybe start volunteering or maybe working with the archeology department back home,” she noted.

The fourth youth said finding artifacts from thousands of years ago made her think about how the ancestors lived.

“I am going to apply to work for a summer as an intern for next year,” she said.

Sugar Cane Archaeology has a mandate from WLFN chief and council to provide community engagement and doing the archaeological heritage workshop with the youth was one way of doing that, Cleminson said.

“We want to try and reach out more,” she added.

Read more: ‘It’s like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CaribooFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The trek was made without spectators on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2021. Organizers are planning a second run for February, when they hope public health restrictions are lifted. (Tammy Raynor - Submitted Photo)
As mushers deliver, sled dog mail run organizers announce second event

The dogs made the trip from Quesnel to Barkerville, delivering envelopes of mail for Canada Post

The driver of this truck received minor injuries after it careened off the highway. (Quesnel RCMP Photo)
Semi-truck crashes down 200-foot embankment off Highway 97

The truck also spilled diesel fuel into Cuisson Creek

Operating Room nurse Tammy Solecki, Clinical Practice Leader Joanne George, and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Van Zyl, stand alongside new equipment G.R. Baker’s shoulder surgery extension. (Submitted photo)
New shoulder surgery program at G.R. Baker Hospital in Quesnel already getting rave reviews

The $200,000 program could support nearly 100 surgeries a year at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

The location of the proposed Telus cell tower is at the red pin. (Google Maps)
Telus proposes Wells cell tower

The project is available for public comment until March 1

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Five big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19:

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
2 years after his riderless horse was found, police believe Merritt cowboy was killed

Two years after he went missing, Ben Tyner’s family makes video plea for information

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

Seats in the waiting area of domestic departures lounge of Calgary International Airport are seen with caution tape on them on June 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
3-in-4 Canadians in favour of banning interprovincial travel: Poll

According to Research Co., 80 per cent of Canadians would like to see restrictions imposed

Most Read