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Relatives of the Deep: The Ethnoecology of a Lekwungen Archipelago in the Salish Sea

Darcy Mathews
Assistant Professor, University of Victoria


Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 4:30pm

Tl’ches is an island group in the Salish Sea near present-day Victoria. As Songhees Nation reserve land, it is an archetypal Cultural Keystone Place inhabited by Lekwungen-speaking families for generations. This talk highlights ongoing community-based archaeological and historical ecology research regarding this archipelago as an ecosystem shaped by millennia of indigenous resource management and subsistence practices. Important resource sites such as blue camas prairies, tidal marsh root beds, culturally managed trees, and clam beds are currently being investigated, as are substantial historic and archaeological village sites. Tl’ches offers a complex and robust human and environmental record—it is a legacy of millennia of sustainable Indigenous inhabitation and management.

Photo of Darcy Mathews

Dr. Darcy Mathews is an ethnoecologist and archaeologist, who works in collaboration with First Nations communities to understand the deep history of social and ecological relationships between past peoples and their environments. His research is multi-disciplinary and collaborative, including partnerships with indigenous experts in traditional knowledge, other archaeologists, ecologists, geographers, ethnobotanists, and other specialists. It is through these and other methodological and theoretical approaches that he approaches how people, plants, animals, and places have interacted with one another in myriad ways through time.



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