History

Fostering a Secwepemc sense of place

Lower Adams Lake – Cstélen

Words are not enough to do justice to this story. You need to be there and not just once, but regularly so that it becomes a tradition for you. As Secwepemc educator and historian Robert Mathew described, that is what is needed to foster a sense of place, which is the goal of the place name project he and many others have been working on for the past 20 years. Continue reading

Everything Shuswap finally off to press

Kathi Cooperman enjoys the spectacular view from the top of the Blind Bay Bluffs. This photo by Jim Cooperman appears in the beginning of the book.

Everything Shuswap, the first comprehensive book about our glorious Shuswap region, is finally off to be printed and will be available soon. The process to create this book began 12 years ago in 2005 when I began writing these columns, which were re-written and combined with other material for the manuscript. Developing the manuscript into the final book was a monumental effort that involved: reviews by local and provincial experts; the collection of many images and historic maps; the preparation of unique maps, graphs and tables; the excellent design and layout by Shuswap Press; extensive fund raising, and seemingly endless proofreading.
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150 years ago in the Shuswap

Shuswap Chiefs in Victoria, 1867 for Queen’s birthday, photo by Frederick Daily courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives

As communities prepare celebrations to commemorate Canada’s 150th year since Confederation, it is a good time to reflect on what the Shuswap was like in 1867. By then, the Secwepemc people had adapted to the impacts of the European invasion, but their numbers were fewer because of smallpox and other diseases brought by the miners. The fur trade, which had passed its peak in 1827, still continued, as the 1867 Hudson’s Bay Company journal has two entries about marten skins purchased from “Adam’s Lake Indians.”
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Arthur Manuel’s Legacy

Arthur Manuel addresses a group of activists in 2014

The Shuswap lost a true community leader and a powerful, effective advocate for Indigenous rights and title last month, when Arthur Manuel passed away at the age of 66. Thankfully, he wrote two books that provide a better understanding of the over two centuries of Canadian injustice that First Nations have had to endure and what actions are needed to rightfully address the problems.
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The story behind the photo

Blind Bay Hall Costume New Years Party, 1920

Once Everything Shuswap is off to the printers, one of my next projects will be to prepare an educational guide to the book for use in the schools. For every page there will be suggestions for further research, study questions, links to more information and ideas for projects. Each of the hundreds of photos in the book can inspire the reader to ponder about the image, its significance, its history and its backstory, as well as to compare it with other locations or situations.

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Shuswap’s most famous artist deserves more recognition

The Collings Estate, August, 2010

With the legendary Collings Tudor estate in Seymour Arm now for sale, it is a good time to examine more closely the work of the once very famous artist who began living there in 1910. On a recent trip to Vancouver, we visited the Uno Langmann Gallery to view a collection of Charles John Collings’ works and speak with Uno, a renowned art collector and an authority on the artist.

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Dreaming big – the Seymour Arm Fruit Lands

 Cover of brochure

Seymour Arm holds the unique distinction of being the only community in the Shuswap and perhaps the entire province that became a ghost town twice. While its gold rush era history, when it went from boom to bust in less than a year, is legendary its reincarnation as a fruit growing centre is less well known. In 1908, Seymour Arm Fruit Lands Limited was established with its head office in Vancouver after purchasing 6,500 acres. The company began a marketing program to sell 5-acre lots to potential settlers primarily coming from England.
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Early archaeologist Harlan Smith studied the Secwepemc

photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History

Five of the Secwepemc photos in my upcoming book, Everything Shuswap, were taken by one of Canada’s earliest archaeologists, Harlan Ingersoll Smith. The images show an old pit house, a woman scraping a hide, a summer dwelling and a woman with a digging stick. These files were purchased from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, as they are part of the collection from Jessup North Pacific Expedition that the Museum sponsored from 1897 until 1902.

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Constructing the CPR through the Shuswap

Passenger train heading to Notch Hill, Credit – CPR Archives

Just prior to completing the final revisions and additions to the last chapter of Everything Shuswap about the history of settlement, I rediscovered some material about the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) through the Shuswap in my history file cabinet. These papers were obtained during a visit to the CPR archives in Montreal back in 1988, when my focus was on local history. The information was significant enough to warrant including some excerpts to the chapter.

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Walter Montgomery – Chase’s extraordinary logging photographer

In addition to the hundreds of forestry workers who flocked to Chase when the Adams River Lumber Company set up its massive sawmill, there was a young, very skilled photographer who came to stay for the rest of his life. After working as an itinerant photographer throughout southern Alberta, the Okanagan and the Kootenays, Walter Forrest Montgomery moved to the town in the spring of 1909 and soon became a very respected and much appreciated member of the community. Years later, his magnificent images became legendary.
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