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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Native Artifacts on Display

Regional | by James Greensmith  

'Strong Relationship' responsible for preserving native artifacts found in sewer dig.

Ancient artifacts with deep historical ties to the Saugeen First Nations people are now on display at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton.

"The Rivermouth Speaks" exhibit was unveiled at the museum on Tuesday night in front of a large crowd of over 200 people.

A number of local dignitaries were on hand -- including Saugeen First Nation Chief Randall Kahgee, Elder Vernon Roote and Saugeen Shores Mayor Mike Smith.

Chief Kahgee spoke passionately about what the artifacts mean to the history of his people...and how they worked with the county to protect them.

The artifacts were excavated in spring 2010, during a sanitary sewer installation at the mouth of the Saugeen River.

Kahgee notes Bruce county officials approached him with plans to install the sewer...but there were some concerns to address first.

Kahgee says they had long suspected that ancient artifacts may be buried at the site...and he wanted to ensure they would be preserved.

On the first day of the dig -- evidence of artifacts was found, which lead to a full excavation performed by archaeologist Bill Fitzgerald and his team.

The artifacts include stone tools, pottery vessels and animal bones that date back thousands of years.

Mayor Mike Smith says they are now working with the First Nation Community on an engagement protocol.

He says it will ensure that a certain process will be followed if there is a need to dig on native land for future infrastructure projects.

Both Kahgee and Smith say they are striving to build a strong community partnership.


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