Members of the digitalsqewlets.ca team have just published an article in the Journal of Social Archaeology called “Sharing deep history as digital knowledge: An ontology of the Sq’e´wlets website project” [link to pdf].
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, and relation. This paper presents an ontology of the Sqé´wlets Virtual Museum of Canada Website Project, a project that has focused on creating a digital community biography of the Sq’éwlets First Nation (www.digitalsqewlets.ca). Based on several decades of community archaeology and the recent production of short video documentaries, the website presents a long-term perspective of what it means to be a Sq’e´wlets person and community member today.We explore how this project came to focus on the nature of being Sq’e´wlets; how community members conceived the nature, structure, and nomenclature of the website; and how this Sq’e´wlets being-ness is translated for outside audiences. We suggest what lessons this approach has for anthropological conventions of naming and knowing as they relate to Indigenous histories, and consider how archaeological knowledge can be transformed into a digital platform within a community-based process.
Natasha Lyons is director and founding partner of Ursus Heritage Consulting and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University. She conducts critical community-based research in archaeology, ethnobotany, and palaeoethnobotany with First Nations and Inuit communities throughout Western Canada and the Arctic.
David M Schaepe is director and senior archaeologist of the Stó:lo Research andResource Management Centre at Stó:lo Nation and Adjunct Faculty in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He has worked for 20 years to address issues of aboriginal rights and title, heritage management policy and practice, repatriation, land use planning, archaeological research, and education and outreach.
Kate Hennessy is associate professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University and director of Making Culture Lab. She is a cultural anthropologist whose research explores the role of digital technology in the documentation and safeguarding of cultural heritage, and the mediation of culture, history, objects, and subjects in new forms.
Michael Blake is professor and head of the Department of Anthropology and former Director of the Laboratory of Archaeology at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include the emergence of social and political complexity, the origins and spread of agriculture, and household and settlement archaeology in both the Pacific Northwest and Mesoamerica.
Grand Chief Clarence Pennier is a policy analyst for Stó:lo Tribal Council, a society whose mandate is to provide representation and governance for the member First Nations of Stó:lo. In his capacity as Sq’éwlets Chief, Clarence Pennier initiated the archaeological investigations at the ancestral site of Qithyil in the early 1990s and has guided the project research team since its inception.
John R Welch is professor and director of the Professional MA in Heritage Resource Management in the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University and is cross-appointed to the School of Resource and Environmental Management. His research is grounded in broad questions about how culture- and place-based communities define, protect, use, and sustain their biophysical and cultural heritage.
Kyle McIntosh is a web designer and founder of Popgun Media. He has designed and developed a wide range of digital media products and virtual exhibits, including Sq’éwlets: A Stó:lo-Coast Salish Community in the Fraser River Valley (http://www.digitalsqewlets.ca/).
Andy Phillips is a policy analyst for Stó:lo Tribal Council. In his capacity as Sq’éwlets Chief, Andy Phillips instigated the Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum of Canada Project in order to re-unite Qithyil collections online and share his community’s knowledge and history.
Betty Charlie is a Sq’éwlets elder and knowledge-holder. She has been an integral cultural advisor to archaeologists and other historical researchers about Sq’éwlets history and spiritual practices, and a longtime participant in archaeological investigations in the territory.
Clifford Hall is a Sq’éwlets elder and knowledge-holder. He has been an integral cultural advisor to archaeologists and other historical researchers, and a longtime participant in archaeological investigations in the territory.
Lucille Hall is a Sq’éwlets elder and knowledge-holder. She has been an integral cultural advisor to archaeologists and other historical researchers, and a primary community organizer for the Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum of Canada Project.
Aynur Kadir is a media anthropologist, digital archivist, and doctoral researcher at the Making Culture Lab, Simon Fraser University. She works with local communities in northwest China and the Pacific Northwest to develop digital media that document, manage, interpret, and represent indigenous cultural heritage.
Alicia Point is a coast salish artist and Sq’éwlets elder and knowledge-holder. She produced the mirror image sturgeon logo that serves as the primary thematic element of the Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum of Canada website.
Vi Pennier is a Sq’éwlets elder and knowledge-holder. She is an active and longtime contributor of Sq’éwlets history and knowledge.
Reginald Phillips is a Sq’éwlets elder and knowledge-holder. He is an active contributor to the Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum of Canada Project.
Reese Muntean is a doctoral researcher in the Making Culture Lab at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts + Technology. Her research interests include digital cultural heritage and collaborative development of ethnographic new media projects.
Johnny (Sonny) Williams Jr. is a Sq’éwlets member and cultural liaison to the Mission School District and Leader, with his wife Chrystal, of the Golden Eagles Canoe Club. Sonny has been involved with archaeology at Qithyil since his early years.
John Williams Sr. is a Sq’éwlets elder and knowledge-holder. He is an active and longtime contributor of Sq’éwlets history and knowledge, and has been an important adviser to the all of the archaeologists and researchers working in the territory.
Joseph Chapman is a Sq’éwlets member and social development coordinator for Sq’éwlets First Nation. He has helped to coordinate Youth & Elders Camps as part of the Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum of Canada Project and has contributed his knowledge and experiences of being raised Sq’éwlets.
Colin Pennier is current chief of Sq’éwlets First Nation. He has helped to coordinate many aspects of the Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum of Canada Project.