Skwlax Aboriginal Interests Department

The Skwlax Aboriginal Interest Department has re-organized the staff and updated office processes which includes managing the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band lands referrals, consisting of forestry cut blocks, fisheries, environmental and archaeological/heritage projects that may have an impact on the Aboriginal title or rights of Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band.



TransCanada highway from Silvery Beach to the General Store (3.6 km) archaeological impact assessment (AIA) is finally underway.

Silvery Beach-General Store AIA Project Area

On Tuesday, May 23rd the Elders Group conducted an opening project ceremony on the Arnouse Property where MoTI, Chief and Council, archaeology field crew and community members attended. This was followed by refreshments and four flags were placed along the project area in respect of the land and the environment, and to keep everyone safe. We thank everyone who participated!

Archaeologists Staff & Crew Members:

Nola Markey, Project Manager                                                                         Emery Arnouse, Field Technician
Todd Paquin, Project Field Manager                                                                Miykhaela Tomma, Field Technician
Phoebe Murphy, Project Supervisor                                                                 Jason Bellrose, Field Technician
​Jessica Barton, Archaeologist                                                                           Tilkotmes Tomma, Field Technician
Meaghan Griffith, Archaeologist                                                                       Dwayne Finlay, Field Technician
Elton Arnouse, Field Technician                                                                       David John, Field Technican
​Debbie Frenchy, Field Technician

The preliminary foot survey of the 3.6 km project area was conducted between May 23rd to June 2nd, and the archaeology crew identified 21 high potential archaeological/heritage areas to test. Some areas were very difficult to access due to the thick shrub undergrowth therefore, we will work towards getting these areas cleared in order to complete the foot assessment of these areas. Before clearing can take place, we are also required to do a bird survey, which will be followed by shrub clearing to make sure that there are not any birds nesting.  One new large archaeological site was identified along with some isolated stone flake scatters and other cultural depressions. The crew also identified an iron cross marker with the inscription “Misty Stone”; if anyone knows of any information regarding the marker, please contact Nola Markey ( or call 250-819-6895.  We predict the shovel test program to continue to the end of August, however this may be extended depending upon what is found.

The archaeologists have been meeting with the Elder Group bi-weekly to work on a cultural heritage management plan, so that there are good processes in place when certain sites are identified in the field, Once the plan is in place, this will be presented to Chief and Council for review and comment. This cultural heritage plan will be beneficial in future projects as well as it assists in guiding the archaeology field crew and other representatives.

Further, there will also be an interview component (4-5 people) of the archaeology project area, which is in the early planning stage.






Other Archaeology Projects:


Holdings Road/Anglemont-Squilax Intersection AIA Project is a smaller project to widen the intersection. Phoebe Murphy has applied for the Provincial Heritage Conservation Act permit and is currently in a 30-day review. We expect this project to take place in July sometime and we have estimated approximately 6 shovel test field days. We will keep the community apprised once we get the permit in place.


Urban Systems (On Reserve Projects) is proposed for the Fawn Daycare Subdivision, which is in the early stages where Geotech testing will take place during the week of June 26th. At this point we will need some monitoring of the soil tests, which we will identify more field technicians.


Cultural monitoring is on-going for the Norfolk project near Malakwa (2-3 crew).


Training (Archaeology; Forestry; Safety):


RISC Training and Cultural Heritage Field Assessment (Ipads) Training was conducted in March and April 2017 in preparation of the proposed projects. This type of training is a requirement to work on both forestry and archaeology related projects. Forestry companies require to see RISC certification.


Flagging safety training was also conducted during the month of April 2017. Safety is important to everyone involved, and Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band takes this serious and wants to make sure that everyone gets home safely to their families. We have developed sound industry safety plans for the archaeology and forestry projects and we need to abide by the safety plans in place that align with the Little Shuswap Lake employment policy.


Forestry Cut-block Assessments (Aaron Arnouse):


Aaron and Nola have been working on setting up Forestry assessments, which will begin in earnest for the week of June 19th. We advertised for Little Shuswap Lake internal field technicians to conduct both the Cultural Heritage Field (CHFA) Assessments (1 Crew) and the Preliminary Field Reconnaissance (PFR) Assessments (1 Crew). These crews will be organized by the end of June 16th. Some of the companies we will be working with are BC Timber Supply; Integrated Fibre Ltd; Interfor Forests; and Gorman Bros. Fibre Ltd., (Downie/Canoe subsid.).


We are currently working on selecting the blocks to be assessed within the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band administrative area for this year. Aaron Arnouse and Warren Fortier will be largely overseeing this work with input from the Band Administrator.

Vehicle Fleet/Policy:


SAID have managed to secure leases for two vehicles from the MoTI archaeology project and two vehicles from the forestry/fisheries projects. These vehicles are used for work on these projects and have strict vehicle policies in place. Little Shuswap require driving abstracts to be on-file with Kevin Potter and the SAID department and updated on a yearly basis. Forestry work crews will be required to have a driving license in place, as this is a safety matter.

Referrals Officer – Warren Fortier, who has previous referrals experience with several Secwepemc Communities, was hired to begin setting up a proper referrals process for Little Shuswap. He will be responsible to manage and review all Applications to identify where proposed activities will take place (i.e., Little Shuswap Lake Administrative Area versus Crown Lands) and determine appropriate action and recommendations in collaboration with the Band Administrator and Chief and Council. His forestry experience and education will also be an asset in assisting Aaron in managing the proposed forestry cut-blocks.

SAID Office Manager Posting:


The SAID office manager’s posting was closed on June 9th and the interview process will begin during the week of June 12th. We will provide an update on the successful candidate which should be in place by the end of June 2017. In the interim, Nola Markey is the acting Manager until this process is complete.




Brian Finlay continues to work on the MoTI technical working group portfolio as well as finance management, setting up office processes, technical support, consultation matters, and assists with the acting manager’s role.  


Dianne Francois continues to work on the technical working group for the BC Hydro portfolio. There will be future capacity as this project moves forward, such as Guardian Programs, archaeological and cultural heritage assessments.


Tess Toma continues with crew coordination and scheduling on all projects, new crew hire employment documentation, data file management, vehicle booking, word pro documents, webpage design for theSAID department, and telephone/email management.


Shayne Hunt continues to work on some of the map interviews, managing data, assisting Warren in referrals, and will be working on some of the interviews scheduled for the MoTI highways archaeology project.


Miykhaela Tomma (youth representative) assisted on interview transcriptions, scanning documents, and other interview data management. Although this contract is ending, working on the cultural data was beneficial in understanding more of the Secwepemc cultural background, history and genealogy of the communities. This experience and knowledge will be successful in her future endeavors. We all want to congratulate Miykhaela on her upcoming Grade 12 graduation!

WELL DONE!!!! (Cultural Ambassador or Archaeologist????)                   




The Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band would like to express its appreciation to the Boyd family, who recently submitted an artifact collection to the community.  The Boyds have lived along Little Shuswap Lake for just over 50 years and, during this time, found numerous stone tool artifacts near their property.  Some of the tools included arrowheads and spear points, scrapers, utilized flakes, fishnet sinkers and gaming pieces, made from a variety of materials including chert, chalcedony and basalt. 

To indigenous groups, such artifacts are a significant part of their cultural identity and connection to their ancestors.  These types of artifacts, uncovered at an archeology site, are also important to archeologists as they provide clues in explaining how people lived in the ancient and recent past.  Many artifacts are found accidently.  For example, construction crews find artifacts when they are building roadways or digging up an area to lay foundations.  Farmers find sites when they plow their fields and homeowners do the same when clearing a field to build a vegetable garden.  Archeologists will get telephone calls from people who stumble across an artifact or site while out hiking.

Of course, there is a darker history of purposely looting a site and selling artifacts, which is not permitted as they are protected under provincial heritage legislation. Preserving artifacts and protecting sites is paramount to archeologists and indigenous communities.  Today, many indigenous communities work closely with archeologists to develop comprehensive heritage-management processes.  Some of these processes include developing their own cultural-heritage policies and building their own artifact and research repositories, museums and cultural centres, including repatriating artifacts lost to museums from other countries.  To indigenous communities, these artifacts are not merely “things” because they provide a sense of pride and are a testament of the knowledge and achievements of their ancestors.  There are stories linked to the places where artifacts are found, offering a sense of place called home or re-affirming their spiritual practices from the past to present.

Once again, Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, a member of the Secwepemc Nation, thanks the Boyd family for taking good care of the artifacts over the years and is pleased they will remain in their homelands.  The assemblage will be documented as the Ann Boyd Collection and they will be catalogued and safely stored.  We recognize the preservation and study of artifacts are important for the survival of our cultural identity and we will use the artifacts for research, training and other educational purposes.  We encourage others who have private collections to contact us.  Little Shuswap is currently working on registering a repository with the province with a long-term goal of building a museum and cultural centre.  The cultural centre will showcase our culture, skills, crafts, art, songs, dance, spirituality and more. It will also bring back the spirit of hope and pride and awaken the strength of our community.

Nola Markey is an archeologist and Brian Finlay is with Skwlax’s aboriginal interest department. Interested in more? Go online to












Skw'lax Aboriginal Intrest Resource Representatives:
Location: #105-440 Squilax Angelmont Rd