On a late summer day, many years ago, a young man set out on a voyage through the mountains. He never reached his destination. When his remains were discovered by three British Columbia hunters, roughly three hundred years after he was caught by a storm or other accident, his story had faded from even the long memory of the region's people. First Nations elders decided to call the discovery Kwäd?y Dän Ts'ìnch? — Long Ago Person Found.
The discovery of the Kwäd?y Dän Ts'ìnch? man raised many questions. Who was he and how did he die? Where had he come from? Where was he going, and for what purpose? What did his world look like? But his remains, preserved in glacial ice for centuries, offered answers, too — as did the traditional knowledge and experience of the Indigenous peoples in whose territories he lived and died.
In this comprehensive and collaborative account, scientific analysis and cultural knowledge interweave to describe a life that ended just as Europeans were about to arrive in the northwest. What emerges is not only a portrait of an individual and his world, but also a model for how diverse ways of knowing, in both scholarly and oral traditions, can complement each other to provide a new understanding of our complex histories.
Richard J. Hebda, PhD, is a botanist who studies the vegetation and climate history of British Columbia, the ethnobotany of First Nations in BC, climate change and its impacts, ecology and origins of Garry Oak and alpine ecosystems, and the botany of grasses. He has been a curator at the Royal British Columbia Museum for more than 37 years and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Victoria for more than 33 years. Richard has served as BC's expert advisor on Burns Bog and as science advisor in paleontology. In 2013 he received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal for his services to paleontology and in 2015 the Canada—wide Bruce Naylor Award for curatorship in natural history.
Sheila Greer is the heritage manager for Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, assisting the First Nation in fulfilling its responsibilities as steward of and voice for the many manifestations of its heritage and history.
Alexander P. Mackie has worked as an archaeologist on the west coast for 40 years. He spent 20 years with the BC Archaeology Branch, including 14 years as a member of the Kwäd?y Dän Ts'ìnch? Management Group with responsibility for liaison between the government of BC, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the scientific research team. In 2013 Al returned to the private sector as a consultant and researcher."