Construction at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was suspended on Wednesday afternoon after what are believed to be Musqueam artifacts were found.
The Musqueam Indian Band has been notified and the artifacts sent to a certified archaeology and heritage lab for “technical assessments,” according to a YVR media release.
Construction of the south airfield rehabilitation project has been taking place on the southern half of Sea Island, which is on traditional Musqueam territory.
The archaeological discovery shows the “longstanding and continued tie” between the Musqueam people and their ancestral territories, said Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, which operates YVR.
“For this reason, finding these artifacts is not unexpected and something we plan for together with Musqueam. We are committed to the protection of these artifacts and will continue to work with Musqueam to inform our current and future actions.”
Chief Wayne Sparrow with the Musqueam Indian Band said that they are working with YVR “to do the right thing.”
“We recognize this is an important process and are committed to continuing to walk this path together with YVR,” said Sparrow.
The construction project on the airport’s south airfield includes concrete panel replacements on the ground, taxiway and runway intersection upgrades as well as electrical work.