For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples along the western coast of North America built stone weirs on beaches to trap fish on the incoming tide.
It was an efficient way to catch them, but also ecologically sound.
In Southeast Alaska, sonar in 2010 spotted what looked like a structure underwater near Prince of Wales Island, one that a Canadian underwater archeologist suspected was a weir.
This year a team of scientists got a closer look with an underwater drone and confirmed Dr. Kelly Monteleone’s theory — that the arc of stacked boulders was indeed a weir.
Monteleone teaches anthropology and archeology at the University of Calgary and presented her findings in Juneau recently at the Sealaska Heritage Institute, one of the partners in the project.
She says the weir is at least 11,000 years old – and perhaps one of the oldest in the world.
“This means that they had those patterns eleven thousand years ago, which means they were here so much longer.”
Monteleone says the presence of the weir suggests the land was in use 5,000 years earlier.
The fact that it was underwater also points to a drastic change in sea level in a very short period of time.
“Does that mean with this new level of searise, change became the new normal?”
That’s a question, scientists want to know more about. They say knowledge about how people adapted to drastic changes in sea levels 11,000 years ago could be helpful to Alaska Native people today, as they cope with climate change.
Monteleone and other partners in the project have adopted what a Mi’kmaq elder has described as “two-eye seeing.”
“The idea is that with two-eyed seeing you are able to look at both at an Indigenous lens or viewpoint and a western-scientific viewpoint at the same time.”
Monteleone says her research incorporates oral histories and traditional knowledge to get a more holistic look at the patterns of land use.
The project is also part of Sealaska Heritage Institute’s ongoing efforts to document the presence of Indigenous peoples in Southeast Alaska, to strengthen their historic claim to the land.
The Cherokee Nation is opening a new domestic violence shelter in Stilwell, OK on Tuesday, to help families and children.
The 11,000-square-foot shelter is set up to house up to six families and has an indoor child playroom. There will also be staff on-site.
Cherokee officials and members of the tribe’s task force to protect women and families are unveiling new initiatives to address domestic violence on the Cherokee Nation Reservation in 2023.
One of the initiatives includes a statewide intimate partner and family training summit scheduled for April.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. says protecting families and children from violence is a priority, and the implementation of new initiatives is intended to make sweeping and lasting changes to keep the reservation safe.
A Navajo veteran has been awarded a Purple Heart more than 50 years after being wounded in battle.
Leroy Cody recently received the Purple Heart Medal during a ceremony in Leupp, AZ.
56 years ago, he was wounded in battle in the Vietnam War.
The Purple Heart is reserved for U.S. service members who were wounded or killed by enemy action on or after April 5, 1917.
During the ceremony, the Military Order of the Purple Heard Department of Arizona also officially designated Leupp as a Purple Heart Community.
The community has three other Purple Heart recipients – Harry Kee Yazzie, Burt Barton, and Larry Ben.
Leupp now joins a national network of Purple Heart trails, roads, bridges, highways, and monuments honoring service members who have received the honor.
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