By Kyle Jung
A month on paper doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you experience it the sense of time becomes something different entirely. I’m Kyle Jung, a student at Douglas College, and just about to complete my first year at Douglas. As week three of our field school ends I can safely say that this is nothing like I’ve ever done before; community meets, hiking, archival work, and more than I can even think of at the moment, I’ve done all of this in the short period of time I’ve been up here. Even with a week left I still don’t want this experience to end even though it will in a few days.
My project in the community has had an interesting evolution since I started in week one. At first I really didn’t know what I was going to do so I did everything I could that was available. During the second week of our stay I went down to the daycare and assisted them with establishing their fence line. Walking the fence line was the single hardest thing I’ve done while I’ve been up here; I had to walk through dense forest, in the rain, while getting eaten by mosquitoes, with nothing but my GPS and trusty field note book to jot down flags. The legwork for this certainly paid off though as I finally got down to what my real project was. The Splatsin daycare recently cleared out a portion of land in the back of their property and there was an interest in building a kakuli, a traditional underground winter home, there. This is where my project started as I offered to help build one. The actual time it would take to build a kakuli though would extend beyond the time we were up here so my project evolved into helping to establish a document on kakuli construction itself. My whole week three was spent doing this as I organized meetings with some local kakuli builders, reviewed archival materials such as Teit’s work, and visited locations of already existing kakulis. My little back pocket notebook has become stuffed with all the info on both traditional and modern kakuli construction.
One of the highlights that has come from my research is upcoming for the last week of our stay. While doing research at the Kingfisher Interpretive Center on the pit house they have on their grounds I, and through me the everyone else in the field school, was offered the opportunity to use the voyageur canoe and visit sites on Mabel lake. Most of my research on this project has been done alone so an opportunity like this is a great way to research more traditional pit houses and give a day out for the other students.
As the final week of our field school begins I can’t help but feel humbled about everything I’ve seen and done. Everything that I have been allowed to do and the knowledge that has been shared with me is something I will never forget and will hopefully take to heart. It has been a pleasure to be a part of the community for the short time that I have and it is my hope that I will be able to give something back for the glimpse the community has given me.