YVR halts construction as experts examine Indigenous artifacts

Officials believe the objects are related to the Musqueam Indian Band.

Musqueam Indian Band leaders unveil the Musqueam Gathering Place at YVR. – Vancouver Airport Authority

Key Takeaways:

  • The objects were discovered during work on the southern half of Sea Island.
  • A certified archaeology and heritage lab is assessing them.
  • As part of its Sustainability and Friendship Agreement, Musqueam and YVR identify and protect archeological resources.

The Whole Story:

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has voluntarily suspended construction activities on the southern half of Sea Island, encompassing its South Airfield, following the discovery of what are believed to be Musqueam artifacts on the site.

At the time of finding, YVR suspended further work and notified Musqueam Indian Band. The artifacts have been sent to a certified archaeology and heritage lab for technical assessments.

“YVR is located on Sea Island, which is the traditional, unceded, and continuously occupied territory of Musqueam. This archaeological discovery demonstrates the longstanding and continued tie between Musqueam people and their ancestral territories,” said Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO at Vancouver Airport Authority. “For this reason, finding these artifacts is not unexpected and something we plan for together with Musqueam. We are committed to the protection of these artifacts and will continue to work with Musqueam to inform our current and future actions.”

As part of its Sustainability and Friendship Agreement, Musqueam and YVR identify and protect archeological resources. This includes using historic and recent maps of Sea Island to safeguard key areas of archaeological interest and outline protocols for chance finds and how they will be handled.

“Musqueam – our elders, knowledge holders, and staff – will work together with YVR to do the right thing. We recognize this is an important process and are committed to continuing to walk this path together with YVR,” said yəχʷyaχʷələq, (Chief Wayne Sparrow), Musqueam Indian Band.


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