David White has been working alongside archeologists, sifting through soil in Windsor's west-end neighbourhood of Sandwich, discovering shards of Indigenous pottery and pieces of stone tools.
He is one of three First Nation representatives chosen to work with the team at the construction site for a new roundabout, where workers last month unearthed Indigenous artifacts.Sandwich roundabout construction unearths Indigenous artifacts
White, a member of the Walpole Island First Nation, says being on site is important to his culture.
"It's gratifying as we look at it from a First Nations perspective as part of a reconciliation between First Nations in Canada and the City of Windsor," he said. "For our culture it extends our presence back in time in this particular area and it's important legally, culturally."
Once Indigenous artifacts are found at construction sites in Ontario, members of nearby First Nations are invited to join the dig. In Windsor, White is joined by a member from Caldwell First Nation and Wendake.
As the construction workers continue to lift up concrete, the excavation continues to spread, explained Jim Molnar, an archaeologist with Hamilton-based Fisher Archaeological Consulting.
Similar artifacts keep popping up — things like chips of stone tools and pieces of pottery.
"What is astonishing about this area and this project is despite the numbers of services that have been put in over the years — the telephone lines, the gas lines, the water, the electrical — there are still areas of soils that are undisturbed," said Molnar.
Having First Nations on site is perfect for "building relationships for demystifying" the work that is done, Molnar explained.
The artifacts will soon be sent for testing where researchers will be able to identify the First Nation that used them.
Wes Hicks, the city's senior manager of infrastructure and geomatics told CBC News that the city is still working towards the initial completion date which is September 1st. The multi-use trail that is planned around the roadway could be delayed.