Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi Project Introduction
In August 1999, three hunters discovered the frozen remains of an ancient person at the edge of a glacier in British Columbia's Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, within the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN). We now know this represents the oldest preserved human remains ever discovered in North America.
In an emergency meeting of elders and members, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations agreed efforts should be made to learn something about this person. They named the find Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi, meaning 'long ago person found'.
Soon after the discovery, an agreement was worked out between the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations about the management of Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi. The agreement ensures cultural concerns are respected while recognizing the significant scientific considerations inherent in a discovery of this nature.
Over the past year, scientists and members of the CAFN have initiated several biological and cultural research projects to learn more about Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi. Initial radiocarbon dating indicates these artifacts are roughly 550 years old, predating Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World, as well as being 300 years before first known European contact on the Northwest Coast.