|Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi|
|Name(s):||Long Ago Person Found; The Canadian Ice Man|
|Age at Death:||Approximately 20 years old|
|Culture||Champagne and Aishihik First Nations|
|Date(s)||Circa 1450-1700 AD|
|Site||Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, near the Yukon Border'|
|Location||Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park; Yukon Border|
Approximately 1450-1700 AD, the Canadian Ice Man walked and fell into a crevice where he remained upright until his death, frozen in place, along what is now the British Columbia and Yukon border in Tatshenshini-Alsek National Park. His place of death is in a traditional Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) territory. It wasn't until three sheep hunters in 1999 discovered his remains that he was unearthed and finally freed from this misfortunate fall. Radiocarbon dating places the body at an age of 300-550 years old, of artifacts found in the proximity of the Ice Man's body.
Due to the fact that Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi was found in traditionally Champagne and Aishihik First Nations territory, it is believed that he belongs to one of these groups. Additionally, being found in this territory brought the CAFN council of elders and members together to discuss how to work alongside archaeologists, forensic anthropologists and the RCMP, to decide what was to be done with the body. The CAFN named the man "Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi," meaning 'long ago person found.'
The mummification process was done naturally, through the process of hypothermia that the body underwent. Preservation in the glacier occurred due to the extreme cold temperatures of the climate in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, close to the Yukon Border.
Shortly after Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi was found, the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture and the CAFN came to the agreement that Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi was to be studied. The agreement promised cultural concerns were respected, while at the same time recognizing the significant scientific considerations that are inherent in such a discovery.
In recent years, scientists, alongside the CAFN, initiated a number of biological and cultural research projects to learn as much as possible about Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi. The discovery of artifacts close to Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi were dated using radiocarbon dating as 550 years old. This discovery demonstrates the existence of peoples pre-dating Christopher Columbus' rampage into North America, and places Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi as existing three hundred years before the first known European contact of the Northwest Coast.
Additionally, research projects recently have included testing of matrilineal DNA of 250 to 300 members of the CAFN to the matrilineal DNA of Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi, to discover that of those tested, 17 had a direct relationship to Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi. 15 of the 17 people with mtDNA matches belonged to the Wolf Clan, a clan of people who still exist today.
According to the research work done, the Canadian Ice Man died as a result of the extreme cold. The severed and missing head is still considered a mystery. No infectious diseases were found. The cause of death is due to hypothermia.
The initial discovery found a torso with the left arm attached. The hand was mummified with its fingernails missing. The head was also missing. Only a few metres away lay the lower body, with thighs and muscles still intact. A wooden dart, walking stick and pieces of fish and scales within the folds of the man's robe. After a few days of the initial discovery, researchers found a woven hat, fragments of clothing and what was described as a personal medicine bag. Even though five centuries had passed, researchers did not open the medicine bag.
Brooke, J. (1999, August 24). Body of Ancient Man Found in West Canada Glacier. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
Iceman's DNA Linked To Coastal Aboriginals (Canada). (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2015.
Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi - "Long-Ago Person Found" - The Genetic Genealogist. (2008, April 27). Retrieved June 14, 2015.