CLEARWATER — Wells Gray Park and the Clearwater River Valley are rich in natural and human history. This spring, a long-time resident of the area close to the park made a discovery he believes pre-dates the first European settlers in the area, and he's hoping to find out more.
Peter Pelton has spent much of his life in the forests of the Clearwater River Valley.
“Not quite all my life. I’m still here,” Pelton replied, with a laugh.
Early this spring, while driving on his woodlot close to the entrance to Wells Grey Park, Pelton made a curious discovery.
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“I was bringing some people up to look at the woodlot, and my little kitten happened to be hiding under the car,” he explained. “He jumped out down on the road… I followed him up looking for him, and found this.”
At first glance, what he’s referring to doesn’t appear to more than a jumble of mossy rocks; after a closer look the rocks appear to placed there deliberately, and there are plenty of them. Pelton is convinced it’s a burial site of some kind. He’s not sure who built it, but he’s believes it was erected to house ai
“[There’s] somebody very important buried in there. It took a lot of work… and a whole community of people to make it.”
After finding it this spring, Pelton contacted the Simpcw First Nation, who’s traditional territory the mound is in. According to Chief Nathan Matthew, there’s significant evidence of Aboriginal Habitation in the area.
“At the mouth of the Clearwater River, there are a number of winter homes… So we know people lived there, probably for the past couple of thousand years,” Matthew told CFJC Today.
MAtthew also said the mound near the park doesn’t really match the types of burial sites his people have historically built
“It doesn’t fit any profiles we have for burial sites, or any kind of the other sacred areas or places,” Matthew explained. “I guess that’s what’s so intriguing about it.”
Pelton’s main concern is the integrity of the site. He wants to make sure the area is protected, and whatever is contained within the structure given the respect which it once demonstrated.
“I’m kind of interested what’s in there, too,” Pelton said, “but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s gotta be protected.”
Pelton hopes by bringing attention to his discovery, the necessary steps will be taken to examine the site, with the diligence required to maintain it’s integrity. Until then, the mystery around the mound and it’s contents, will remain.
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