Hello World! – From San Juan
by: Jordan Davis
Hello! My name is Jordan Davis and I am interning with the San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH) on San Juan Island, Washington this summer. I hold a bachelor’s degree in History (with a minor in Archaeology) from Calvin College and am currently competing a professional master’s degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Sustainable Peacebuilding. This summer, I am working on the SAJH “archaeology crew” at American Camp, one of the two major part units along with “English Camp” on San Juan Island. In 1859, the United States and Great Britain almost went to war over a boundary dispute in the region. Known as the “Pig War,” namely in reference to the shooting of a pig of the Hudson’s Bay Company by an American settler—the SAJH preserves and interprets the history of the conflict and the peaceful resolution of hostilities. The park, however, is also one of the many stewards for the natural resources of the island, including foxes, eagles, butterflies, and the shorelines which are important for the conservation of salmon and orcas. Furthermore, the SAJH is also a steward of the indigenous cultural landscapes of San Juan Island, a commitment to the Coast Salish Tribes and Nations who have lived in the region for thousands of years including the Samish, Stillaguamish, and Lummi. Major challenges confronting the park lie in balancing cultural and natural heritage preservation and management, as well as a broadening park interpretive frame responsive to historically marginalized voices and peoples.
In coming posts, I will be able to go into more depth about the park’s history and archaeological survey work, nature and wildlife conservation, island festivities, and the parks’ vital, collaborative engagements with Coast Salish peoples in this truly breathtaking place.