Remains in mortuary house

  • Dec. 11, 2006 1:00 p.m.

The human remains found in September on Bay Street in Queen Charlotte are now in the mortuary house at the Haida Heritage Centre, according to Elizabeth Bulbrook, coordinator of the Haida Heritage and Forest Guardians.
The remains were discovered September 1 while workers were replacing a residential water line in Queen Charlotte. “After consultation with Skidegate’s SHIP elders, the remains were wrapped in a button blanket, put in a bent-wood box donated by Andy Wilson and placed respectfully in the mortuary house,” said Ms Bulbrook of Queen Charlotte. An ancient fire pit and midden were also uncovered with the bone fragments. Its location is about 8 metres above present-day sea levels. A distinct layer of shell at the site indicates the hearth was used when sea levels were higher. Ms Bulbrook and team mapped, documented and took samples from the archaeological site. She sent them out for radio carbon dating. “We should get the results in the next couple of weeks,” she said, ” At this point we have no clue of how old the site may be.” “In collaboration with the Haida Repatriation Committee we’ll be erecting a permanent marker at the site and are seeking a Gwaii Trust grant to do this,” Ms Bulbrook said. When notified of the discovery by the Village’s work crew, Queen Charlotte administrator Andrew Yeates stopped the work and contacted the Guardian office. “We are having ongoing discussions with the Haida Forest Guardians now and are trying to reach an agreement on a protocol for human remains,” he said. Ms Bulbrook urges people who find archeological material, such as bone fragments or artifacts, to call the Haida Heritage and Forest Guardians at 1-250-626-6058.

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