Ancient graves found near Paulatuk, N.W.T.
Graves could be between 400 and 1,000 years old
Some ancient graves, dating between 400 and 1,000 years old, have been discovered at Tuktut Nogait National Park near Paulatuk, N.W.T.
At least four skeletons have been found above ground and covered with flat stones.
John Muffa Kudlak, who lives in the area, said Inuvialuit people have known about the graves for a long time.
"I have heard stories from the elders in the past what they were way before their parents," said Kudlak.
A research project in Tuktut Nogait National Park is planned for this summer. The park’s management board met with members of the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee about including the graves in the research.
They said elders do not want the graves to be disturbed.
"Just for respect, we'd like to leave it alone and not try and touch any part of those burial sites, for research purposes or DNA testing or whatnot," said Diane Ruben, of the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee.
Parks Canada has a policy never to disturb historic grave sites within national parks.
Eric Baron, who works with the regional Parks office in Inuvik, said "there was never any question" that the graves would be left undisturbed.
Tom Nesbitt, who works with the park's management board, said that the graves do not need to be touched.
"There are other ways of finding the story of these people rather than excavating or disturbing the gravesites," he said.
At most, photos will be taken of the graves to help figure out who was buried there. Nesbitt said the park management board will work with other archaeological evidence found, such as food cache sites nearby.