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Human remains found at development site in Saanich

Ancestral human remains discovered in Saanich early Monday afternoon.
Police at the scene of a development site in Saanich, where remains were found.

Human remains have been discovered by construction workers near Cordova Bay Road on Monday afternoon and are believed to be ancestral.

Police responded to the 5100 block of Cordova Bay on Monday after a report that someone found the remains under the boulevard next to the roadway.

The area where the remains were discovered is currently a large development project and is also an area known to have First Nations remains.

"Representatives of the Tsawout and Songhees Nations are present on-site as part of the construction process," said Const. Markus Anastasiades. 

The University of Victoria and archeologists have confirmed the remains are of ancestral origin.

Elected councillor of the Tsawout First Nation Mavis Underwood said the area is known to the First Nation and the discovery is part of their history. 

"One of the worst things is to erase our history," said Underwood. "It makes me really sad, it makes me feel powerless against the government. I am really afraid that we will lose our history."

University of Victoria anthropology professor Brian Thom said he was at the location and said it's the old village site of ȾEL¸IȽĆE.

"This is a place where developers have been pulling Indigenous bodies out of the ground for decades now," he said. 

Thom said the area is very well known to be in the archeology area.

"We will have to find a way to treat the remains in a dignified way and this is someone's ancestor that is being disturbed," said Thom. 

Saanich Police have left the scene and the continuation of the excavation is being conducted by the First Nation.