Mountain Archaeology in Canada

  • Christian D. Thomas

Mountains dominate the geography of western North America and evoke a sense of supernatural beauty encompassing a vast wilderness. A landscape of peaks and valleys, ecologically structured in vertical relief. Throughout human history the mountainous regions of the world were also cultural spaces where knowledge systems have guided people’s persistent relationship with mountain ecosystems and resources. And since the cordillera of Canada was born out of glacial ice 13,000 years ago, it too has been a cultural landscape. In this session, we propose to examine the human relationship with the mountains of Canada from the earliest histories of Indigenous People, through confederation and into recent times. Topics to be discussed include First Peopling of mountains, cultural landscapes, sacred spaces, resource utilization, development and exploitation, glacial archaeology, the development of traditional and colonial infrastructure, as well as the establishment of parks and protected spaces.