Lee Creek, gateway to the North Shuswap

          This Lee Creek aerial photo shows most of the community with the virtually unexplored and protected Corning Creek Canyon on the right

The North Shuswap, like many other areas of the Shuswap, has seen major changes since settlement, as the economic base has shifted from agriculture to forestry to tourism and retirement. At its gateway is the small community of Lee Creek, which is known best for Roderick Haig-Brown Park and the Adams River salmon run. Since its one-room school closed in 1954, the population of Lee Creek languished until a few small subdivisions were built in the 1970s. Now that Lee Creek is officially a secondary settlement, it may continue to grow as a summer destination primarily with new recreational vehicle lots and homes.

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Quaaout – a community enhanced by tourism

There has always been a significant community on the north side of the Little River, as evidenced by the many kekuli pit house depressions near the outlet of Shuswap Lake just to the east of the Squilax gas station. At one time there may have been many hundreds, if not thousands of Secwepemc people wintering there on what is now sacred ground. However, by the late 1970s, the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band reserve was looking somewhat threadbare, with high unemployment, very few band members living on the reserve, and its prime recreational lakefront property dominated by leased beach cabins.

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The Shuswap community of Sexqéltqin

Chief Atahm School, with the sod covered kekuli-room in the centre

The Shuswap is home to approximately 50 communities, ranging in size from the tiny Seymour Arm to the largest, the city of Salmon Arm. The common identifying feature for all these communities is the presence of either a community hall or a school or both. This series of columns about communities begins at the northwestern corner of the Shuswap watershed at the ancient Secwepemc community of Sexqéltqin, which means where the water begins to flow. This village, which also has other names, is the Adams Lake Indian Band Reserve Number 4 and is home to some 540 people.
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