Saturday, January 30, 2010

At rest in the Place of the Cradles

The establishment of Fort Victoria in 1843 may have marked European settlement on this southern tip of Vancouver Island but Aboriginals have inhabited this area for thousands of years. South-eastern Vancouver Island, where the capital city of Victoria is located, was the home of the Northern Straits Salish peoples and in what is now the greater Victoria area were 12 interlinked Songhee villages.

From time to time, during road works or housing development, an aboriginal grave may be unearthed. Once evidence of an ancient burial site is found, all work is immediately stopped and First Nations community representatives are called in.

In this case, on August 27, 2009, the excavation of a sewer trench along Dallas Road disturbed the remains of a young First Nations woman, “SLENI”, originally buried over 300 years ago. Following consultations with archeologists and First Nations Elders, a determination was reached to hold a reburial service close to the site of the discovery and a marker was placed to identify the spot.

SLENI's marker was placed along Dallas Road beside another one identifying the location of the unearthing in 1995 of the remains of another First Nations individual "HIWET."

The location of this site, now called "Camel Point," was originally called "Lekwammen" which means “the place of the Cradles.”

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