Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs shocked that downtown Winnipeg is a First Nations burial site

Treaty One Territory, MB. _ Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is shocked to learn there were 1,200 First Nations people who died from a small pox epidemic in the late 1700s and were buried in “the heart of the city of Winnipeg” on “the north bank of the river.”

“It is horrifying to learn of the impact of this small pox epidemic and the number of our people who died due to their contact with the settler society,” said Grand Chief Dumas. “This devastation of our First Nations population cleared the way for the appropriation of their lands and resources. The mere fact that there are a dozen burial sites within short distances of each other and that Winnipeggers do not know whose bones they are walking over, building over is astounding and disheartening.”

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Niigaan Sinclair wrote, a smallpox epidemic destroyed communities across southern Manitoba in 1781. These outbreaks came with a 90 per cent death rate. Scholars have noted that 800 lodges of Indigenous peoples resided at what is now known as The Forks in Winnipeg. First Nations people lived, travelled and traded for 6,000 years at The Forks.

“These epidemics had more than just the immediate effects of First Nations people perishing from the disease; they also altered the lives of not only survivors, but future generations. They affected First Nations’ cultural, social, and political institutions. Their everyday life changed forever. We need to work with the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg to honour those that perished from these outbreaks,” said Grand Chief Dumas.

This could include but not limited to a memorial statue, stories included in history books of Winnipeg and Manitoba, or a plaque at the site of The Forks detailing the small pox epidemic and the effects on First Nations citizens in Manitoba, suggested Grand Chief Dumas.

By Kim Wheeler | Oct 4th, 2018

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Archeologists Uncover Evidence Of Early Aboriginal Agriculture On The Red River

A team of archeologists are seen working at a site in Lockport, Man.

A team of archeologists are seen working at a site in Lockport, Man.

CTVNews.ca | June 21, 2016

A team of archeologists on the banks of the Red River have collected evidence that the First Nations people of the Prairies, long thought to be nomadic, were Canada’s first settled farmers.

The site, located in Lockport, Man., may well be the location of Canada’s earliest farm and the only known indigenous agricultural settlement in western Canada.

A group of nine anthropology students from the University of Manitoba helping with the research have made a number of exciting discoveries during the five-week dig, including fragments of pottery, bone, and tools dating as far back as 1200 A.D.

“They’re finding bits of ceramic, bits of bone fragments,” Robyn Neufeldt, an anthropology professor at the university, told CTV News. “We’ve actually found bone tools and an arrowhead.”

A group of nine anthropology students from the University of Manitoba found fragments of pottery, bone, and tools dating as far back as 1200 A.D. at the site in Lockport, Man.

A group of nine anthropology students from the University of Manitoba found fragments of pottery, bone, and tools dating as far back as 1200 A.D. at the site in Lockport, Man.

The artifacts will be sent to labs across Canada and the United States for further testing.

“(The site) roughly dates to the time of the Vikings,” said University of Manitoba archeology professor Robert Beardsell — a period known as “the medieval warming period.”

At that time, global temperatures were rising, particularly in the North Atlantic region. In North America, that meant nomadic tribes that had traditionally followed bison herds began to settle and started cultivating crops.

The Lockport site may well be Canada’s earliest example of this settlement process. Researchers say the Red River provided the settlers with fish, while fertile ground beside it made the prefect spot for growing crops.

“(The settlers) were certainly involved with corn and beans — probably squash and probably sunflowers as well,” said Leigh Syms, a former curator at the Manitoba Museum.

The current dig is considered the archeologists’ last chance to collect artifacts because the Red River is quickly eroding the land around it.

The team also has only a few days left before their permit to dig on provincial park land expires.

With a report from CTV’s Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon

http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/archeologists-uncover-evidence-of-early-aboriginal-agriculture-on-the-red-river-1.2956128