WEST COAST NATIVE PEOPLE WERE TENDING WETLANDS ALMOST 4,000 YEARS AGO

Dec 21, 2016

By Michael Kramer

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First Nations people along Canada’s west coast were tending wetland gardens as far back as 38 – hundred years ago.

An archeological firm owned by the Katzie First Nation in B-C’s Lower Mainland – has found evidence that the nation’s ancestors engineered the wetland environment to increase yields of  the “wapato” – a semi-aquatic tuber which was an important source of starch over the winter months.

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Researchers unearthed a platform of closely packed flat stones – that would’ve sat a few metres underwater – to keep the tuber’s growth in-check.

A member of the archeological team says the site is as important to the Katzie people –  as any wonder of the world – from the Egyptian pyramids to Machu Picchu – and  the project gave many young members of the Katzie community a way to connect with their ancestry.But the findings are bittersweet – since the site has been paved over for a  road.

The story is published online in Science Advances.

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