Museum seeks artifacts

A SMALL museum at Cedarvale east of Terrace says CN won’t provide it with aboriginal artifacts found while adding sections of siding.

  • Nov. 28, 2012 9:00 a.m.

A SMALL museum at Cedarvale east of Terrace says CN won’t provide it with aboriginal artifacts found while adding sections of siding.

Mary Dalen of the Meanskinisht Village Historical Association which runs the museum at Cedarvale says she understands material uncovered during track construction includes arrowheads, flint and cooking bowls.

Cedarvale is located alongside of Hwy16 on the south side of the Skeena River, approximately 75km from Terrace, just across the river from the siding work on the north side of the river.

Dalen said she and a son were even denied an opportunity to examine what had been found when they went to the construction site.

“When we went there, they wouldn’t let us down to where the work was going on,” said Dalen.

She said subsequent conversations with CN officials about the artifacts have proved fruitless.

But CN deliver to the historical association  what Dalen calls “boxes of twisted wires and metal” taken from the construction location.

The four cardboard boxes also contain one insulator with Grand Trunk Pacific stamped on it, and other unmarked insulators.

Grand Trunk Pacific, which finished the rail line to Prince Rupert in 1914, is the predecessor company to CN.

Dalen says any item with Grand Trunk Pacific does have historical relevance but doesn’t make up for not receiving any aboriginal artifacts.

“They’ve promised us a showcase for this material but we haven’t seen that either,” Dalen adds. She’s now worried about rumours the artifacts may instead be headed for the Ksan Historical Village and Museum in Hazelton or to the Museum of Northern BC in Prince Rupert.

Dalen’s connection to the artifacts CN found during track construction goes deeper than simply  wanting them placed in the Meanskinisht museum.

Dalen’s Gitxsan fore bearers, living at a place called Gitlusec, were among to the first to greet Robert Tomlinson, an Irish doctor and missionary, when he arrived in 1888 to establish a Christian village there.

Tomlinson called it Meanskinisht (translated as “under the pitch pines”) and buildings were erected on both sides of the Skeena.

First Tomlinson and then his son, Robert Tomlinson Jr.,  took up land grants on both sides of the Skeena River. The land was first leased and then some parcels were sold to aboriginal people, including Dalen’s family members, she says.

Since CN’s project is going through some of the land first taken up by the Tomlinsons and then leased and sold to Gitxsan people living in the area, Dalen says there’s a strong connection to the artifacts the company found.

“These are artifacts which are part of our history,” said Dahlen.

She said buying leased land from the Tomlinsons was one way of establishing aboriginal title at a time of settlement when aboriginal title wasn’t being respected elsewhere.

Still, Dalen notes, it amounted to “having to pay for the land we [already] lived on.”

CN’s siding project is part of a multi-million construction project aimed at improving its ability to move goods and freight to and from the expanding port at Prince Rupert and at other facilities near that coastal city.

The artifacts are being evaluated by  archaeologists.

The community of Meanskinisht, which at one time consisted of homes, churches, a school and a sawmill, no longer exists as an entity. The name was replaced by Cedarvale, chosen when a post office was placed beside the rail tracks on the north side of the river.

Today Cedarvale is accepted to be the small settlement on the south side of the Skeena alongside Highway 16.

Just Posted

Ministry defends proposed hunting restrictions

Options intended to balance population and allocation to move forward with input by April or May

Terrace RCMP Inspector Syd Lecky transferring to Kamloops

Departure likely months away, replacement process yet to begin

Province to boost ER services at Mills Memorial

Money to add salaried doctor positions

Province opens public input on policing standards

The move flows from recommendations of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry

Terrace hockey player breaks all-time points record in Major Midget League

Prospects are bright for Mason Richey, suiting up this fall with the West Kelowna Warriors

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Most Read