Shuswap

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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Spring fever at the Shuswap Seed Swap


It was inspiring to spend a day inside the massive Splatsin Centre with hundreds of people, all eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring. The 23rd annual Shuswap Seed Swap held on Saturday, March 4th was a huge success, as in addition to the significant sales of seeds, produce, tasty food and handmade items, the many participants enjoyed meeting up with friends and sharing information about sustainable living.
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Mountain Caribou on the brink


On February 2, 2017, the BC Government announced it will provide $27-million to boost mountain caribou recovery efforts. The additional funding will be invested in the ongoing program that includes habitat protection and restoration, maternal penning, predator management, research and monitoring and increased compliance and enforcement. While the environmental community welcomed the announcement, there is a growing concern that it may be too late to save this iconic ungulate species from extinction.
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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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Monashee Mountains help define the Shuswap

                Mount Fosthall is the second highest mountain in the Shuswap

The Shuswap region is defined by its watershed, which includes the rivers and streams that all eventually empty into Shuswap Lake and the South Thompson River. However, it is the Monashee Mountains that actually direct much of this flow of water. These mountains in turn form part of the Columbia Mountain Range that also includes the Selkirks, Purcells, and the Cariboo Mountains.

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Clues and mysteries in old maps

The 2012 book British Columbia, A New Historical Atlas by Derek Hayes provides an insightful look at the history of the province using old maps. Beginning with the first, hand drawn map of this region from 1814 by famed explorer David Thompson to the Surveyor’s General 1915 map, the shape of Shuswap Lake changed as cartographers became increasingly more accurate. These maps provide clues about our region’s history as they show the locations of old trails, wagon roads and communities and they show how well the geography was understood at that time. And there are mysteries surrounding some of the names and the spellings, and the sources of the mapmaker’s information.

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