Archaeological Impact Assessment of Outpost Island, Blanchet Island and Copper Pass Mine Sites

Julie Ross and Shannon Allerston (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2014-007)

Golder Associates Ltd. (Golder) was retained by ARCADIS SENES Canada Inc. (SENES) to complete an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA) at the Outpost Island, Blanchet Island and Copper Pass mine sites. The mine sites are between 90 km and 130 km southwest of Yellowknife on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake. The AIA was initiated in support of SENES’s Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) at the abandoned mine sites in preparation for planned remediation activities. SENES is conducting the ESAs on behalf of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Modeste Sangris, Angus Charlo and Sarah Black of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) acted as field assistants and wildlife monitors. Modeste Sangris and Angus Charlo also contributed their knowledge to identifying archaeological and traditional land use sites.

As a result of the AIA two previously unrecorded archaeological sites (JkPi-1 and KcNx-3) and two traditional land use sites were documented. The Outpost Mine is classified as JkPi-1 and consists of historic mining infrastructure and debris, early exploration camp remains and debris, a white cross, rolled birch bark, old moorings, dishware, scraps of apparel, two square tent outlines, two tent rings, an outhouse, boat repair area and radio towers. KcNx-3 is located 700 m south of a proposed access road from Hamilton Bay to Sachowia Lake (Copper Pass Mine) and consists of a partially buried line of large stones located at the base of a tree which has been identified as a possible grave site.

Land Use Site 1 is located on the north shore of an unnamed lake south of Sachowia Lake and consists of axe-cut trees, a tire, and assorted metal containers including syrup and tobacco. Land Use Site 2 is east of the Blanchet Island Mine and consists of evidence of a possible hearth feature. The lack of material culture, the limited amount of lichen and the hearth location, so close to the lake shore, all suggest a recent occupation of the site.

Avoidance is the preferred management recommendation for all sites. If avoidance is not possible, then systematic data recovery is recommended. No impacts are anticipated for sites identified and documented in 2014.

(Edited by Shelley Crouch, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)