THE RECOVERY AND INTERPRETATION OF ANCIENT HERITAGE
Archaeology is the discovery, recovery and reconstruction of the
lifeways of ancient peoples. In southwestern Manitoba, it begins with
the Precontact (Pre-European) Period record from the first of the First
Nations, the Clovis hunters of 11,500 years ago, through to the
appearance of the first Europeans, La Verendrye's exploration party of
1738. Throughout this time there is a dynamic record of changing
groups, migration, trade, changing land use, changing technology and
changing cultural identification.
Then there is the Protocontact Period, dating ca. AD 1650-1750, when
local First Nations were utilizing items traded from European fur
traders to the south and east. The fur trade period, dated ca. AD
1750-1875 locally, includes the rise and spread of fur trade activities
and the rapidly changing lifestyles of various First Nations including
the Nakota (Assiniboins) whose homeland included this area, Dakota and
Lakota, Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) and Metis. Finally, there is the more
recent Postcontact Period, including homestead developments, local
industrial developments such as coal mining, and community developments.
In so many shapes and places, the past is all around us waiting to be
rediscovered, interpreted and understood. It is our legacy to preserve
and protect this history for the generations to come.