My family lived on a Ranch full time from 1993 until 2015. We were a 5th generation family farm.
I am writing this blog to share my experiences living there. It is best to read the blog chronologically by going through the archives, starting with the introduction in January of 2010.
The blog starts with the arrival of my great-grandparents to the farm in 1947 and will follow the families to the present.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Secwepemc Nation

Renee wrote in her letter to the editor of the Salmon Arm Observer in 1949 that the lack of road made their lifestyle like that of the early pioneers with all the original hardships "except there are no more Indians about to make the scene perfect".

The Indians to whom she refers are the Secwepemc people, known by non-natives as the Shuswap, are a nation of 17 bands occupying the south-central part of BC who have lived in the area for at least 10,000 years.
From the website:
At the time of contact with Europeans in the late 18th century, the Secwepemc occupied a vast territory, extending from the Columbia River valley on the east slope of the Rocky Mountains to the Fraser River on the west and from the upper Arrow Lakes in the south. Traditional Shuswap territory covers approximately 145,000 square kilometers.

The Nation was a political alliance that regulated use of the land and resources, and protected the territories of the Shuswap. Although the bands were separate and independent, they were united by a common language - Secepemtsin - and a similar culture and belief system.

The traditonal Secwepemc were a semi-nomadic people, living during the winter in warm semi-underground "pit-houses" and during the summer in mat lodges made of reeds. The tradional Shuswap economy was based on fishing, hunting and trading. Shuswap diet consisted of fish, meat, berries and roots. The lifestyle, based on respect for nature, depended on traditional aboriginal skills and knowledge handed down from generation to generation by oral tradition. However, in the 19th century
the Secwepemc culture was transformed with the appearance of fur traders, missionaries, gold miners, and settlers.

Diseases, introduced by the white man, decimated the native population after contact. In 1862 a severe epidemic of smallpox devastated the native people of B.C., wiping out the 32 villages of the Shuswap. Around the same time, The Hudson's Bay Company fur trade monopoly was ended and British Crown authority was established to maintain order and control settlement. Indian reserves were established during this colonial period.

In 1871, B.C. became a province of Canada and the federal Department of Indian Affairs took over responsibility for every aspect of the Secwepemc social, political, and economic livelihood. The Catholic Church, in conjunction with the federal government, looked after the religious conversion of the Secwepemc people. In the 1890s two large "industrial" schools were established in Secwepemc territory at Kamloops and near Williams Lake. The Indian Residential Schools closed in the 1970s but have been the centre of much controversy in recent years. Their legacy continues to be felt in the lives of Secwepemc people.

The Secwepemc people traveled the Shuswap extensively.  The residents of Ferme Fleur de Lys recall families canoeing up the lake and stopping in at the bay for the night where they would all enjoy a visit. There is much evidence that some of the bays were popular resting places with a large amount of artifacts.  The other enduring signs are the pictographs that can be found on flat rocks along the shores. "Cedar Man" is one such symbol that is close to the farm.

Cedar Man

1 comment:

Staar said...

So glad I found this blog! I am very passionate about finding and photographing as many pictograph sites in the local area and can hardly wait for spring to get out and find these ones!