Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy | Emilee Gilpin | Coastal First Nations

VIDEO: Unraveling Van Isle’s Ancient Secrets

Archeologist merges science with traditional knowledge to explore history

Unearthing the past: historic villages, cryptic drawings and maritime discoveries

Q̓íx̌itasu Elroy White has always wanted to learn about the world around him.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be an explorer, but I didn’t know how to do it at the time. As I started to learn my culture, I realized, I didn’t have to go very far away.”

While “explorer” might be a rarely used title today, Elroy White now explores Van Isle’s rich history and culture as an archeologist.

He is one of the leading experts in his field, and he’s developed a completely new approach that adapts the scientific method to make new discoveries.

He combines Heiltsuk-based cultural knowledge with more classical archeology techniques. Q̓íx̌itasu calls his unique method the “M̓ṇúxvit approach.” 

M̓ṇúxvit is a Haíɫzaqv word that loosely translates to English as “uniting, becoming one.” 

“Any researcher, we’re trained to build on what’s already existing, but that also includes the oral history,” he told Coastal First Nations.

This approach has helped him to dissect the history of Captain Vancouver’s first contact with indigenous peoples on the island.

The Vancouver Maritime Museum recently followed him out to the sites of multiple historic villages.

They filmed him as he explained theories behind everything from ancient petroglyph drawings to ingenious “mass fishing” techniques and how Captain Vancouver’s arrival stirred ripples that would become waves in history.

It’s well worth a watch and gives a ton of insight into the history of the lands we live on.

You can find the video linked below.

YouTube video

Elroy White currently runs Central Coast Archaeology in Bella Bella.



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