Remains found at Kamloops road work site are 545 years old, experts learn
Woman's remains will be reburied, given full funeral by Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc band
Human remains discovered during road work in Kamloops, B.C., are more than five centuries old, archeologists have learned.
The remains of the woman, which were found by a crew working on Victoria Street West in June, were examined by archeologists from the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc band along with a group of specialists.
She is now set to be reburied and given a proper funeral by the band.
The examination — combined with DNA tests conducted at a lab at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. — discovered that the remains are about 545 years old and belong to a five-foot-tall woman who had at least one child, was right-handed and died between the ages of 50 and 59, said Ted Gottfriedson, manager of the language and culture department for the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc band.
'Full funeral privileges'
A funeral will be held for the woman on Nov. 1, when her bones will be buried in the graveyard on the reserve.
"She's going to have descendants that are in our graveyard so she'll be at rest with her descendants," said Gottfriedson.
"[We will] accord her the full funeral privileges we would any deceased band member."
Even though she was probably put to rest properly many years ago, having a proper funeral means a lot since her remains have now been disturbed, Gottfriedson added.
"Disturbed remains is a very serious thing for our people," he said. "There's a lot of protocol involved in making sure that we do the best we can in a situation where the remains are disturbed.
"For us to be able to honour her and put her back to rest is a big part of who we are and what we feel is right for her," he added.
'Reconciliation in action'
Gottfriedson commends the southern Interior city and the excavator who discovered the remains for taking immediate action when they were found.
"The city was awesome," he said, adding that they followed the proper protocols of going through the police first and then contacting the band office.
"Everyone was very respectful, very appreciative of our customs and it was a great example of reconciliation in action."
The relationship between the band and the city has improved a lot, he said.
"Before this, you know, it wasn't as common to have these reported. So it was kind of sad, the historical relationship didn't warrant these types of finds being reported to anyone," said Gottfriedson.
"In recent history we've come a long ways and it's been a great relationship."