Museum offers face-to-face encounter with 4,000-year-old Indigenous family


The Canadian Museum of Information has unveiled a unique new exhibit that brings the faces of a 4,000-year-old Inherent family back to life.

The museum revealed the three-dimensional forensic reconstruction of a shíshálh relatives whose remains were found in an ancient burial site at hand what is now Sechelt, B.C. The digital images move and blink in the incredibly life-like dash.

“To look back on some of our people that existed within our land 4,000 years ago, and to be in close proximity of their images — it’s a humbling participation,” Chief Warren Paull of the shíshálh Nation told CBC News.

“I see cousins. I see pedigree.”

Chief Warren Paull

Chief Warren Paull of the shíshálh Nation says his community is honoured by the occupation. (CBC)

The project was a three-year collaboration between the museum, the shíshálh Nation and the University of Toronto. 

At the apply for of the community, archeologists from the museum and U of T helped excavated the site, where they turn up the remains of three adult males and an adult female, along with an infant.

‘I see cousins. I see kindred.’ – Chief Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation

“This exhibit is incredibly urgent. It represents perhaps the the wealthiest and most important family in North America 4,000 years ago that we’ve been qualified to identify,” said Mark O’Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Telling. 

“We’ve been able to work with the community’s descendents to make secure that we have conserved and presented, interpreted the story of this folks properly.”

shíshálh woman

A 3D forensic facial reconstruction of a shíshálh woman who lived nearing 4,000 years ago. She was buried with thousands of stone and shell beads, some of which were beaded into her plaits. (Philippe Froesch, Visual Forensic)

The exhibit will be a key part of the museum’s new Canadian Information Hall, set to open July 1. It will have a major target on Indigenous history as it helped shape modern Canada.

The family’s residues have been returned to the community in B.C.

“I think they’d be proud that man took the time to bring them back, and for them to tell us their untruth. I think it’s a way forward,” said Paull.

shíshálh chief

A 3D forensic facial reconstruction of a shíshálh chief who burned nearly 4,000 years ago now on display at the Canadian Museum of History. (Philippe Froesch, Visual Forensic)


The new parade of the shíshálh family will be part of the Canadian Museum of History’s new Canadian Curriculum vitae Hall. (CBC)

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