Wyatt Gore (front) was the keeper of the Atlatl point found by the Gore family last spring until it could be returned to the Sts’ailes First Nation. (Tony Gore/Contributed)

Wyatt Gore (front) was the keeper of the Atlatl point found by the Gore family last spring until it could be returned to the Sts’ailes First Nation. (Tony Gore/Contributed)

Artifact found on Harrison River returned to Sts’ailes

A Chilliwack family found the Atlatl point during a spring exploration of the Harrison River

The tip of a weapon many thousands of years old has been returned to the Sts’ailes First Nation after being found on the banks of the Harrison River last spring.

Tony Gore and his family live in Chilliwack, but spend sunny days at their cabin on the Harrison River. Last spring, the family was exploring on the riverbanks close to Harrison Lake when Gore spotted a curiously shaped rock on the beach.

“As soon as I found it I called everybody over,” Gore said. “We all huddled around it, and we’re looking at this perfect point lying on the beach.”

The Atlatl point found by Tony Gore and his family on the banks of the Harrison River last spring. The point has now been returned to the Sts’ailes First Nation. (Tony Gore/Contributed)

The rock was clearly chiselled into the tip of some sort of weapon, and Gore began explaining to his son Wyatt, 4, and daughter Naomi, 3, how Indigenous people had used the point before metal to hunt animals.

“Wyatt, my son, reaches down and grabs it, right,” Gore said. “And I’m like, ‘Wyatt, you’re the first person to grab it in thousands of years.’”

Gore asked his son to give him the point for safekeeping, but Wyatt refused.

“He tucked it into his little pocket and he said, ‘I’ll keep it in my pocket dad, don’t worry. It’s safe.’”

Not wanting to quash his dreams, Gore let Wyatt take the point into his room to keep it safe.

It was only later, when Gore saw an article published by Black Press on a similar point being found in a garden near Williams Lake in June 2020, that he realized exactly what his family might have found on the beach.

RELATED: B.C. First Nation reunited with artifact 13 years after found in Williams Lake

After getting in touch with the Chilliwack Progress, Gore was connected with Morgan Ritchie, the heritage research archaeologist at the Sts’ailes First Nation.

According to Gore, Ritchie said the point was between 2,500 and 4,000 years old. It would have been used on an Atlatl, a type of thrown weapon that combines a spear with a hand-held device to help the user throw it further and faster.

The Atlatl has been used by people in North America for more than 10,000 years and predates the bow and arrow, although they were also used at the same time.

The points were never left behind if possible, Gore explained, so it’s likely something traumatic had happened, such as an animal escaping with the point stuck in its skin.

Because the point was found by itself on the beach, dating it can be tricky, Gore said.

It was only after his family had brought the point home that he learned artifacts like the point should be left where they were found, so an archaeologist like Ritchie can come and and document the area.

RELATED: Archaeology uncovers buried Sts’ailes history

This allows the archaeologist to have a butter understanding of how the artifact was found, as well as look for other artifacts around it which can provide more clues about its use and history.

The Agassiz Harrison Observer had reached out to Ritchie and the Sts’ailes First Nation for more information on the point, but had not heard back after multiple attempts to connect.

Gore learned all this after he had gotten in touch with Ritchie. When he first contacted the archaeologist, Gore realized the fate of the point had been left in the hands of his young son, and he wasn’t sure what had happened to it.

“I was worried I lost it again. Luckily, I went into his room with Wyatt and he showed me where it was,” Gore said.

“He was really good, right away he wanted to give it back to them.”

When Gore returned the point, he was met by Ritchie and a member of the Sts’ailes First Nation, who gifted Gore with a blanket.

“I was kind of shocked,” Gore said, adding that the band has said they want to honour him further for returning the point once COVID-19 restrictions are removed.

For Gore’s family, finding the point and returning it to Sts’ailes has enhanced the family’s keen interest in local history.

RELATED: Rare findings provide proof of oral stories

“People, they don’t totally appreciate how long the First Nation people were here before us,” Gore said. “We were here for hundreds of years, but they were here for thousands.”

“That’s what I want to instill in our kids,” he continued, “to respect and appreciate the First Nations culture. Because it’s so big around here. It’s everywhere. It’s all around us.”

So far, that’s what has happened.

Wyatt is now a “little Indiana Jones” Gore said, and Naomi also loves history and “absorbs it like a sponge.”

“Since (we found the point), he’s been searching for rocks,” Gore said about Wyatt, now five years old. “It’s really sparked an interest in him. It’s amazing.

“I’m sure he’s going to be an archaeologist when he gets older.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire crews battle a large wildfire north of Highway 1 east of the Yale Road West exit on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Firefighters battle wildfire in Chilliwack near Hwy 1

Helicopter dropping water on large wildfire in Chilliwack near Yale Road West exit, north of highway

Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

Lift equipment is driven away from a fire in an adjacent unit on Industrial Way in Chilliwack on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack firefighters deal with heavy smoke, extreme heat in challenging industrial fire

Crews successful in containing fire to 1 unit in industrial building, adjacent units suffer smoke damage

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read