Clam gardens call into question hunter-gatherer past of B.C. First Nations – CBC

It’s said that the victors write the history books. The dominant culture of both the US and Canada have crafted very ill informed histories of native culture in North America, and what they ‘found’ when they encountered them. While the last few decades have seen the rewriting of the story, to more accurately show what life was like, a new study from Canada adds more knowledge to our limited information.

The discovery of an expansive system of historic clam gardens along the Pacific Northwest coast is contributing to a growing body of work that’s busting long-held beliefs about First Nations as heedless hunter-gatherers. A team of researchers at Simon Fraser University has revealed that First Nations from Alaska to Washington state were marine farmers using sophisticated cultivation techniques to intensify clam production. In an article published recently in the journal American Antiquity, lead author Dana Lepofsky argued that the findings counter the perception of First Nations living passively as foragers in wild, untended environments. (CBC)

Also, if you are interested, I happened, through a mandolin connection,  to end up at the house in Canada of one of the main researchers on clam gardens, and the web site for their research is here.

We’re going to try and get her to come down to Port Townsend later this year to discuss her work. More to follow.

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