Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Archaeological Impact Study" Patterns of change.... for Coast Tsimshian people

THE Study of Archaeological Impact
Photographed by Edward Dossetter, 1881.
Credit - American Museum of Natural History, Negative f42294.

Kitkatla is the oldest continuously occupied village on the Northwest Coast. Today it is the only Coast Tsimshian village with standing traditional poles. The steep rise of the midden to the large house structures would have been typical of winter village sites in the area.

 Archaeological Impact Study: Bulk Loading Facility Environmental Assessment, North Coast B.C.    198?

 Page 116 of 131

...... With the founding of Prince Rupert in 1906, it was generally felt that the harbour would become a major shipping centre.   Accordingly in 1912 a quarantine hospital was built in the harbour on Dodge Island (32) (GbTo-18). The doctor's residence  was built on adjacent land on Digby Island (GbTo-30) and connected to the hospital by a boardwalk.

The expected developments failed to materialize and the facilities were never utilized.  The hospital became a gutted  ruins and the boardwalk collapsed. The doctor's house was maintained as a residence until the l950's when it also was  abandoned.   In recent years, the building has on occasion been used by National Museum of Man 
(refined search for Man) field crews as a base of operations.

A native tuberculosis sanitarium was built on Kaien Island in Miller Bay ( 33), south of the city. A number of large institutional buildings still stand on the site.  In his novel, Mist on the River, Hubert Evans (1954) gives a poignant description of the Indians' dilemma in dealing with  this disease and the sanitarium while still living very much a traditional life style in their villages. Today the  hospital is no longer used as such, but some of the buildings have been adapted as homes by residents of Prince Rupert.

3.8 World War II Facilities

During the Second World War, Prince Rupert, as the closest major North American port to Japan, was considered a likely target of invasion forces. To protect the harbour a number of fortifications were built, submarine nets were  strung across the entrances, and the harbour was mined.  Cement gun emplacements can be found at Barrett Rock (34) on the southern tip of Kaien Island and at Casey Point (35) farther up the island near Prince Rupert.

An observation point was built on the summit of Mount Hays (36) with a wooden stairway up the slope. In 1942-43, major gun emplacements were built at Frederick Point (37) on the southern end of Diqby Island.  Situated on high ground they commanded an excellent view of the harbour entrance. A number of barracks were built at the site to house troops for  manning the operations. This location was connected to a base camp in Casey Cove (38) by a corduroy road, much of which  still exists today.

A submarine net crossed the harbour mouth south of Casey Cove. The camp, a former D.O.T. headquarters, consists of a number of large barracks and administrative buildings. These are at present empty shells though one building is at  present occupied by a civilian family. No military interests remain.  In the Venn Passage a submarine net was put in from Verney Island to Dundas Point (30) (GbTo-35) on Digby Island. 

Barracks were constructed on the point and numerous trenches run across the point, Verney Island, and the mainland by GbTo-34.  Barbed wire and collapsed structures are scattered in the area.

4.  Conclusions

"The history of the northern northwest coast area is one of continuity with the past and adaptation to the present. It is readily apparent that the Coast Tsimshian people have managed to relate their traditional economic pursuits to the introduced European wage economy through continued exploitation of traditional resources for white markets.

Patterns of change can be traced in the varied uses and declining importance of prehistoric territories.

In terms of the white settlers, an inventory of historic locations provides a record of economic developments, failures, and gradual growth in and around Prince Rupert.

Again a continuity can be traced between prehistoric exploitation patterns of important natural resources and the emphasis on development of similar resources today.

5.  Recommendations

As this is only a brief inventory of various historic locales within the terms of reference, it would be of considerable value to have a professional historian evaluate their importance as records of past lifestyles and early industrial developments.

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