Museum offers face-to-face encounter with 4,000-year-old Indigenous family
Unique exhibit part of new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1
The Canadian Museum of History has unveiled a unique new exhibit that brings the faces of a 4,000-year-old Indigenous family back to life.
The museum revealed the three-dimensional forensic reconstruction of a shíshálh family whose remains were found in an ancient burial site near what is now Sechelt, B.C. The digital images move and blink in the incredibly life-like display.
"To look back on some of our people that existed within our territory 4,000 years ago, and to be in close proximity of their images — it's a humbling experience," Chief Warren Paull of the shíshálh Nation told CBC News.
"I see cousins. I see family."
The project was a three-year collaboration between the museum, the shíshálh Nation and the University of Toronto.
At the request of the community, archeologists from the museum and U of T helped to excavate the site, where they unearthed the remains of three adult males and an adult female, along with an infant.
I see cousins. I see family.- Chief Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation
"This exhibit is incredibly important. It represents perhaps the the wealthiest and most important family in North America 4,000 years ago that we've been able to identify," said Mark O'Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History.
"We've been able to work with the community's descendents to make sure that we have conserved and presented, interpreted the story of this family properly."
The exhibit will be a key part of the museum's new Canadian History Hall, set to open July 1. It will have a major focus on Indigenous history as it helped shape modern Canada.
The family's remains have been returned to the community in B.C.
"I think they'd be proud that people took the time to bring them back, and for them to tell us their story. I think it's a way forward," said Paull.
With files from Tom Parry