“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell
Over the past 40 years, Denis St. Claire has balanced careers in secondary education and archaeological and ethnographic research among Nuu-chah-nulth peoples on the west coast of Vancouver Island, particularly Tseshaht, Toquaht, and Huu-ay-aht peoples of Barkley Sound. To date, he has been the Director of eight major, multi-year excavations which have resulted in a wide range of archaeological insights, documented in numerous publications and reports and student research projects (see below). Beginning in the 1970s, Denis conducted extensive interviews of more than 20 elders from eight Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations regarding traditional ways of life and world views, territories, site usage, and traditional Nuu-chah-nulth place names. More recently, Denis served as a member of the Tseshaht First Nation team negotiating aboriginal traditional rights and title with provincial and federal governments. In 2013, the Canadian Archaeological Association presented Denis with the prestigious Pendergast Award in recognition of his “extraordinary and exemplary work in expanding the boundaries of Canadian archaeology.” As a result of Denis’ fascinating archaeological research, Barkley Sound ranks among the most extensively studied regions of the Northwest Coast.
ARTICLES AND BOOKS
- Exploring variability in maritime resource use on the Northwest Coast: a case study from Barkley Sound, western Vancouver Island
- Nuu-chah-nulth whaling: archaeological insights into antiquity, species preferences, and cultural importance
- Ts’ishaa: Archaeology and Ethnography of a Nuu-chah-nulth origin site in Barkley Sound
- Huu7ii: Household Archaeology at a Nuu-chah-nulth Village Site in Barkley Sound
- Leach, David. “Secrets of the sound.” BC Magazine: Summer 2011. print