Hello and thank you for visiting. My name is Nicole Smith. I was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia and now live in Victoria B.C. working as an archaeologist and educator. I first learned about the rich heritage of this coast as a grade 3 student from the lovely and wise Snuneymuxw elder, Dr. Ellen White, who visited my classroom at Seaview Elementary School in 1983. It wasn’t until I entered university that my learning about the northwest coast, my home, continued as I pursued a degree in anthropology. Since 2000, I have been honored to practice archaeology on the BC coast, and to be welcomed into the traditional territories of more than two dozen First Nations spanning Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, Laich-Kwil-Tach, Kwakwakwa’ak, Haida, Heiltsuk and Tsimshian culture areas.
As a freelancer I work primarily with First Nations communities, the Hakai Institute, Parks Canada, the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre and colleagues at various universities. My archaeological research focuses on clam gardens, fish traps, household archaeology at recent village sites, stone tool analysis, and
seeking out very ancient archaeological sites (10,000+ years old) in the intertidal zone, forests and caves. I have appeared in documentary productions for the BBC and Découverte on Radio-Canada and have given interviews on Global TV and CBC radio. As an educator, I’ve taught anthropology, archaeology, and ESL (English as a second language) to youth, post-secondary and adult learners. I believe that archaeological stories can inspire people, empower indigenous youth, and facilitate cross-cultural education and understanding.
I feel deeply honoured to work on projects that examine the human history of the BC coast and am only now starting to realize how the early lessons from Dr. White have shaped me as a person. Like her, I find myself in classrooms from time to time and sincerely hope that by talking about my experiences in a good way, that I too can inspire students to celebrate the diversity and heritage of our coast.