Gwich'in Traditional Knowledge and the Potential for Archaeology in the Gwichi'n Settlement Area
Type de publication:Conference Paper
Résumé (en anglais):
Over the last two years, we have been working with the Gwichya Gwich'in Elders from Tsiigehtchic (Arctic Red River, Northwest Territories) on a traditional knowledge study. This project was initiated in 1992 by the Northern Oil and Gas Action Plan (NOGAP), and continued in 1993 under the auspices of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, which believed that this work would help to meet their objective of actively preserving and promoting Gwich'in heritage. The main objective of this study has been to map and record landuse and occupancy in the Gwichya Gwich'in homeland (place names, trails, resources and camp sites used). Besides the mapped information, we also asked a number of more general questions that would provide further insight into the archaeological record of the area. We recorded information on the layout of camps, locations and use of traditional houses, trade relationships with neighbouring Slavey, Inuvialuit, and White traders, use and locations of ochre, lithic sources, caribou fences and boiling rocks, the treatment and disposal of bones and hair from moose, caribou, fish, beaver, muskrats and waterfowl. This paper will present the results of this research focussing on the vital role that Gwich'in traditional knowIedge played in the project and how this information could be used to elicit archaeological information in the area. It will also discuss the role the Gwich'in Tribal Council has played and is planning to play in the future through a newly created Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute.