Yvonne Andre, Celina Jerome, Brenda Kendo and Jenny Andre with Nap and Annie Nortbert at the GSCI Gwich'in Science Camp (Martin Zheh Ethno-Archaeology Field School) excavation in 1995. Photo credit: Eric Damkjar, GSCI.


Since 1994, the Gwich'in Social & Cultural Institute has worked with the Gwichya Gwich’in, Teetł’it Gwich’in, Nihtat Gwich’in and Tr'ondę̀k Hwę̀ch'in on a variety of community-based ethno-archaeological projects. This work, alongside our oral history and place names work is part of our traditional land use research. Through this research, we are building an inventory of heritage sites within the Gwich’in Settlement Region.

Ethno-archaeological research to date has been carried out in Fort McPherson and the Gwich'in Territorial Park near Inuvik, in the Richardson Mountains, and along the Arctic Red River, the Peel River, the Tombstone Territorial Park (Yukon), and the Blackstone Uplands area. Traditional place names, data on harvesting areas, camp locations, graves, and trails were used in developing a fieldwork strategy for identifying archaeological sites. Gwich'in elders and youth are directly involved in excavating, documenting and visually recording their own heritage along with Institute staff and professional archaeologists.