A to the ‘point’ blog post.

It’s been a little while since I wrote about the new overhaul on the First Peoples exhibit. Tammy and I have been a little pre-occupied prepping for the AGM this month, so needless to say everything has been sidelined. BUT, now that things are mostly taken care of, we can get back to other stuff. Like old rocks.

Since we are updating the display cases, we decided to update the Arrow and Spear head frames, as well as frame/3D box some of the other clothing, like a hand beaded vest and hand made gloves and moccasins.

Some dollar store frames, a day, and some extremely sticky wax later, this is what we have!arrowheads 1I didn’t take pictures of the old frames because I just got a new phone and didn’t want to break the camera. [2 words:orange. foam.]

So as I’m handling these beautiful little beauties and applying super special museum quality sticky wax {who even knew there was such a thing! so much better than sticky tack.} I found myself wondering where these things had been, if these ones had actually been used, or if they just didn’t work and were discarded…what is their story?

Our collection was found by Lionel and Maude on the flats on their farm property. Unfortunately we weren’t provided with a date they were found, they have been in the collection since the 80s though. It used to be a pretty cool thing to look for arrow heads…but oddly enough most of these were found by accident when some machinery was turning over soil. There has been talk some were found around one of the bridges…but good luck deciphering which one it was. <if you’re not from around here, there are lots.>

I have a funny feeling it was the one closest to the ferry landings by Nicks Island Rd. But that’s just me. Probably because I’ve found some dead critters in the sandy clay before. It just seems natural that you would find arrow heads there. Sure find everything else there! Actually its a pretty cool place, because depending on what angle you look at it from, especially kayaking…{if you ignore the mountains} it kind of looks like the plains. Until a black bear shows up on the bank. Then it’s definitely not the plains.

But it could be.

Probably because it actually used to be.

Around 5,000 or 6,000 years ago, there was a climactic shift in the area, changing it to the mountain forest-marshy-lakey area that it is now. Creston Valley used to be open grassland, with animals like Caribou (which we still have; I saw, mmm…about 15 the other day up the Salmo Creston Summit. It was dark. Could of been more.) There were also Bison (confirmed by the rock pictographs in the area), and…[brace yourself]… MAMMOTHS!!!

yup. apparently we had mammoths.

Scientists believe that Ktunaxa have lived in the region for about 11,000 years, or since the end of the last ice age at least. (Kootenay Lake was filled by glacial melting. Fun fact. There might be a quiz later. Study up.)

I knew that we had at least two pieces in our collection in Founders Hall that are at least 9,000 years old. But apparently, according to Tammy, the large spear head may also date that late. It’s kind of a monster, it’s huge.

Spear head estimated to be about 9,000 years old

‘Lanceolate’ Spear head estimated to be between 7,000-9,000 years old

Which would make sense now, considering the *mammoth* 😛 size of game that it would of been used on. Deer and elk and moose and bison are big, but would probably quite easily have been handled by the these ones here.

The largest one on the Right is ~ 6" long

The largest one on the right is ~ 6″ long

So, on a skeptical note, the giant one could have just been used on the bison; but…that being said, an appraiser said that the really big ‘Lanceolate’ spearhead pictured above hasn’t been seen associated with Ktunaxa before. {HMMMMMMMMM……}.
Now…some of the original area settling groups came from the prairies and were experienced bison hunters…

So if they were used on bison regularly, would there not be more of them?

One would think.

One is also having too much fun referring to ones self as one.

So what purpose exactly did this gigantic hunka-stone serve? or perhaps it was just a knife blade at one time. I suppose for the time being, we will never know. But what we do know, is that all those teeny tiny little ones in the collection tell the story of how the large ones pictured above slowly fell out of favor as those great big grazers numbers declined and small game became more of a staple.

FullSizeRender

The ‘pointy part’ of most of these aren’t much bigger than the pad of an average mans thumb, except for the three on the bottom. For deer and mid/large-ish sized game

IMG_0070

Most of these ones are the size of the pad of your pointer finger, (water fowl) while the ones in the top left corner are small chips, presumably chipped off to shape arrow heads considering the types of stone are mostly consistent.

Birds, beavers, wabbits, squirrels, fish…you name it, we’ve probably got it. And its kind was probably sustenance for someone at some point.

rabbit-stew-o-s

And they are/were abundant, which is awesome. It’s so annoying walking into the grocery store and you need 5 of something and they only have 2 or 3. So that wasn’t the case a couple hundred/or thousand years ago. Which is good.

But what I think is even…more…good…? Even better…there we go; is that out of some little pieces of chipped stone, that we can learn what was happening here hundreds and thousands of years ago. Amazing what appears when you turn over a stone.

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