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Resources Monday, April 8

Traditional foods of the Sinixt

Some important Sinixt cultural foods are huckleberries, salmon, bitterroot, and camas. These foods were very important and carry their weight into many different things in the Sinixt culture, an example of this is their language. Kpiƛ ̓ ls (Figure 1), known locally as Brilliant Flats, directly translates from Salish to English as “people have bitter root” which shows the importance of foods in Sinixt culture.

Figure 1. Sinixt Traditional Territory (Johnson, 2024)

Hunting large game was crucial for over winter survival, using sturgeon nose canoes and often dogs in the Arrow Lakes area to chase deer down to the water. The meat was typically smoked or cured to last as long as possible throughout the winter. Deer and bear were typically the species that were harvested using the river as a means of transporting.


Traditional pit cooking was done using mosses from larch and fir, the moss was cleaned until sanitary (water flowed clean through it). A three-foot hole would then be dug and filled with rocks and coals from the fire would be placed on them to heat these rocks. Once these rocks were heated, the moss would be added and cooked for 30 hours. This was a traditional cooking method that is still being used to this day.

Elder knowledge

We had the opportunity to have a conversation with Sinixt elder and knowledge keeper Sŏrs (Robert Watt) about the traditional foods and cooking methods of the Sinixt. Most of the conversation pertained to the fishing conducted by the Sinixt pre-colonial contact. Sŏrs spoke of the Kettle Falls fishery that was conducted every year by many of the local bands, especially the Sinixt, near the Columbia basin. He said that all the bands would appoint a Salmon Chief each year to decide who would harvest, when they would harvest, and how many they would harvest at a given time during the salmon run (Sŏrs 2024).

Salmon were often harvested from elevated wood platforms on the falls by experienced fishermen using dip nets or long handled gaffs. The fish caught would then be passed off to a group of processors to clean and cook the meat. Fish were typically smoked as a means of preserving the meat throughout the winter and spring months as a means of food security. The salmon were either cut into thin strips or butterflied for the smoking process and then placed over a small bed of coals for long periods of time; this ensured all moisture exited the meat so that it would keep throughout the year (Sŏrs 2024).


Ceremony. Sinixt. [accessed 2024 Apr 6].

Honoring our Ancestors. Sinixt. [accessed 2024 Mar 4].

Johnson 2024, P. by the H. D. (2024, January 9). Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. ArcGISStoryMaps.

Pit Moss Cooking. Colville Tribes. [accessed 2024 Apr 6].

Salmon & Our People: The Chief Joseph Dam Fishery Story. CCT.HSY. [accessed 2024 Apr 6].

Sŏrs (Robert Watt) SńŚaýckstx Knowledge Keeper. As per conversation Feb 7, 2024.

Resources Monday, March 25

Further Information on Cultural and Ecological Impacts of Hydroelectric Dams on Sn̓ʕa̓y̓čkstx & Sx̌ʷyʔiɬp

The Legend of Kettle Falls

Aeneas Seymour tells of the "Legend of Kettle Falls," recounting the Colville Tribes' tale of Coyote, the transformer sent by the "Great Mystery," also known as the world's creator. According to this legend, the Great Mystery instructed a commandment to the Colville Tribes, emphasizing the value of equality. Equality held significant importance to the creator, who saw it as the inherent right of all individuals to equitably access natural resources and wished for enduring peace upon the land. The narrative unfolds with the Great Mystery's creation of Kettle Falls, designed to abundantly supply the Colville people with fish, addressing their previous scarcity. By crafting the falls in three tiers, the creator ensured fishing accessibility in varying water levels—low, medium, and high. This unique design endowed the falls with remarkable prosperity for fishing endeavors. Additionally, through marital arrangements, the creator designated the father of the brides as the esteemed "Salmon Chief." Entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the falls, he ensured fair distribution of the abundant catch among all inhabitants of the land.

This story emphasizes the deep significance of Kettle Falls to the Indigenous People inhabiting the region. Beyond serving as a vital source of food and trade for the tribes, the falls held deep cultural significance, interwoven with their narratives and traditions. However, the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1940 brought about a tragic conclusion to this centuries-old legacy, as the flooding of the falls signified the irrevocable loss of a cherished cultural and natural landmark.

The following video offers further First Voice perspectives on the history of Kettle Falls:

Ferguson, J. 2007. Confederated tribes of the Colville Reservation Upper Columbia River book of legends. Prepared for Bonneville Power Administration and Bureau of Reclamation Under Bonneville Power Administration Contract #00024429


‘One united purpose’: Sinixt, Secwépemc people paddle together amid contentious treaty news

This article was published recently, in June 2023, and it covers the canoe trip some Sinixt members went on as a journey following the Columbia River from Revelstoke, BC to Kettle Falls, Washington. This was to celebrate the annual salmon ceremony. The article is great at showing the resilience of the Sinixt as they continue to face hurdles as a nation. One week before the journey, information about the new Columbia River Treaty that is currently in negotiation, was released. The original treaty that formed the framework for the creation of the Columbia River dams in the 1960’s left out Indigenous consultation, including Sinixt, and the new treaty will too. They also will not receive any profits from the income that will be generated from the power created. The neighbouring nations of the Okanagan and Ktunaxa will however both receive 5% of profits and will be consulted during the negotiation process.

This continues the struggle the Sinixt have faced regarding being considered not extinct and quite active. They were declared extinct in 1956, and only in 2021 where they declared not extinct. The Sinixt hoped that this reversal status would bring more equality, especially with a matter as important as the Columbia River Treaty. Clearly their fight is not over to be recognized. The Columbia River is in the heart of Sinixt territory, and it is only right to consult them.

The creation of the dams correlates with their “extinction”, and the negotiation of the new treaty during their “de extinction”. The damming of the river is tied with their identity and struggle with the provincial and federal governments. The canoe journey displays how the Sinixt are united and determined as a nation.

Graeme, M. 2023. One united purpose: Sinixt, Secwépemc people paddle together amid contentious treaty news. Indiginews.


Prehistoric settlement patterns in the Columbia/ Lakes region of southern British Columbia and Northeastern Washington

Pit houses were dwellings that were used during the colder months, common throughout interior BC. The map below was used in a study of pit house locations in the Columbia River and Arrow Lakes region (Mohs 1982). Pit houses were found in the 70’s and 80’s during archeological assessments. The majority of the sites were shown to be frequently used over several thousand years. Most of them all shown usage leading up to the modern age (1900’s at the time). The paper insists that the locations were all located at places known for species abundance and high hunting and gathering potential.

One can see the relation to the timing that these sites were abandoned after the turn of the century, to when colonization of the area increased. The sites further lost their potential for providing sustenance after the installation of dams lessened the abundance of species at these sites and then altered the landscape permanently.

Pit house distribution on the Columbia River and Arrow Lakes.

Mohs, GW. 1982. Sinixt Confederacy.


Art by Shawn Brigman

Retrieved from:
Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoes. 2019.

Artist Information:
Dr. Shawn Brigman is a descendent of northern Plateau bands including the Sn̓ʕa̓y̓čkstx (Sinixt). He creates art aiming to recovery ancestral heritage throughout British Columbia, Idaho, Washington and Montana.

About the Canoes:
The sturgeon-nose canoes in which the bow and stern emulates the nose shape of sturgeon, are made in unison with historical patterns and construction methods. To the Plateau bands, canoes represent patterns pertaining to marriages, food gathering and indigenous knowledge in addition to sturgeon itself which was an important food source.

Kootenay Gallery of Art. Shawn Brigman.

Relation to Hydroelectric Dam Impacts:
The installation of Hydroelectric Dams impacted Indigenous People who relied on the waterways for food and their way of life. Among the negative impact the dams had on Indigenous peoples, was a loss of historical traditions and knowledge. Rebuilding and reclaiming historical construction techniques such as with the sturgeon nose canoe, can help Indigenous people connect with their culture once again.


Mind Map Summary of Key Takeaways

Mind Map made with


Resources Monday, March 18, 2024

Traditional Plant Foods

By Sadie Cunningham and Isa Scott

Summary 1: Plants For Food


Reyes LL. 2012. White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy. University of Washington Press.

White grizzly bear’s legacy book: Plant food use and settlers' disruptions

In Chapter 2 of "White Grizzly Bear's Legacy," the author Lawney Reyes delves into the details of the Sin-Aikst tribe's deep connection to traditional plant foods. Growing up he was taught roots played a crucial role in their diet, with camas and bitterroot being primary staples. These roots were not only boiled and eaten but also often combined with other foods like serviceberries, enhancing both flavor and nutritional value. The gathering and preparation of these roots were significant activities, often involving the entire community and showcasing the tribe's intricate knowledge of their environment and its resources.

Additionally, the Sin-Aikst relied on a variety of berries for sustenance. Huckleberries, gooseberries, and foam berries were gathered in abundance during the appropriate seasons. These berries were not only consumed fresh but also dried for future use, ensuring a stable food supply throughout the year. The gathering of berries was often a communal activity, with families and bands working together to harvest and process the fruits, highlighting the importance of these foods in the tribe's diet and cultural practices.

Hazelnuts and wild carrots were also important components of the Sin-Aikst diet, providing both flavor and nutrients to their meals. Hazelnuts were eaten fresh and also stored for future use, while wild carrots were used for seasoning and enhancing the taste of soups. The tribe's utilization of these plants demonstrates their resourcefulness and adaptability, as they found ways to incorporate a wide range of plant foods into their diet to meet their nutritional needs and sustain their way of life.

Summary 2: Importance of Farming Native Plants


How This Indigenous Farmer Is Solving Food Insecurity. wwwyoutubecom. [accessed 2024 Mar 16].

The PBS Terra series, "Women of the Earth," showcases stories of women across America leading a new movement to restore and protect the land. The series focuses on women in roles such as farmers and shepherds, highlighting their unique connection to the earth and their efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Michelle Week's story exemplifies this dedication as she applies her Sinixt indigenous knowledge to adapt her farm to the changing climate, demonstrating resilience and innovation in the face of environmental challenges.

Michelle Week is a first-generation female farmer who owns the x̌ast sq̓it (hast squeit) farm, translating to "Good Rain" in the traditional language of the Sinixt people, also known as Arrow Lakes. Michelle, of Sinixt ancestry, hails from the First Nations People of Okanagan country in British Columbia and north-central Washington. She is committed to stewarding the land, decolonizing diets, reconnecting with her ancestry's cultural traditions, and supporting her community's food sovereignty by providing nourishing food. Michelle's use of Sinixt indigenous knowledge has helped her adapt her farm near Portland, Oregon, to the shifting seasons, addressing the growing challenges of food security while continuing to supply fresh produce to her local community.

In this video, Michelle speaks about how no matter your culture food is an integral part of a healthy life, and the need to reference back to indigenous practices in today's modern world. 40% of American farmers do not own the land they farm on, which is cause for concern. The area in Portland that she serves/feeds is home to many different tribes, so her farm grows plants that don't just have a significance for Sinixt but ones that are connected to many different tribes. This way the food can end up on those tribe members dinner plates at home so they can reconnect with the land. With the growing season becoming shorter, dryer and hotter, it gives us a challenge but also an opportunity to adapt by pulling from techniques used by indigenous communities that thrived in hot climates for centuries.  Many indigenous plants with seeds like Hopi blue corn, Cherokee ground corn, and Seminole pumpkin were almost wiped because of settlers, which is why Michelle stresses the importance of Seed saving. Find more information provided by Michelle via the link above.

Summary 3: Food Sovereignty


Wood SK. 2023. In a hotter world, Indigenous food sovereignty is key to resilient farms, gardens and communities. The Narwhal. [accessed 2024 Mar 18].

Jacob Beaton, a man from the Gitxaala Nation purchased a small town in Kiwanga, BC in 2018. Shortly after this purchase, he observed a resurgence of interest in Indigenous food cultivation among First Nations guests. From the arrival of these guests, Beaton learned that this area had a rich history of Gitxsan Farms and ranches. However, government policies including amendments to the “Indian Act” targeted indigenous food production. These amendments outlawed First Nations peoples from owning property off of reserves, selling food, or buying supplies got food production without government permits. This in turn limited access to traditional food sources and led to food insecurity that persists today.

Today Beaton is part of a growing movement that focuses on food sovereignty, which is distinct from food security. Food security can be solved with money, but food sovereignty boils down to self-determination. Apart from growing food, Beaton’s farm also offers training in various skills necessary for community-based food production.

Despite challenges like climate change, funding shortages, and jurisdictional issues, Indigenous communities hold solutions for rebuilding food sovereignty, which not only benefit their people but also address wider issues like biodiversity loss and food production for the broader public.

One solution to regain independence in food production is to prioritize Indigenous stewardship and adaptations to climate change.

Beaton emphasizes the urgency of adapting food sovereignty plans to climate change, as traditional food sources are rapidly declining due to climate disasters and ongoing exploitation but natural resources companies. He highlights Indigenous people’s crucial role in preserving biodiversity, despite being only 5% of the global population, stewarding 80% of the remaining biodiversity. Studies show that investing in Indigenous-led conservation efforts generates significant social, cultural, economic, and environmental value.

You can visit the link below to read more about the solutions for regaining independence in food production suggested by the community leaders in this article.

Indigenous Artistic Expression


Sinixt artist Ric Gendron leaves Revelstoke with an art legacy - Arts Revelstoke. 2023. [accessed 2024 Mar 16].

Ric Gendron was a highly esteemed and accomplished artist and songwriter from the Sinixt community, renowned for his vibrant acrylic paintings infused with bold colors and profound symbolism.

There’s Adeline in her magenta blouse, whose first husband, Jim, was shot in 1894 by settler Sam Hill at Galena Bay, just south of Revelstoke, as he tried to assert his land rights. Below her is Alex Christian, who struggled unsuccessfully to keep his family’s land near present-day Castlegar. Both were pushed into Washington State like many Sinixt before them. The child in the painting, young Ric, is shown just below a depiction of his parents on their wedding day. Above him is a sweat lodge, his spiritual home, a place of teaching, healing and renewal. Beside him is a giant raven, a bird with which he has a close spiritual connection. “

Display - Info Fact Sheet


Peterat L. 2017. Okanagan Bitterroot. The British Columbia Food History Network. [accessed 2024 Mar 17].

Traditionally bitterroot was carefully harvested using a hand carved wooden hoe. Segments of the roots were replanted to ensure regrowth, while full plants were transplanted to expand the bitterroots range. Once these roots were gathered, they would be peeled and then either boiled, roasted, or dried. Bitterroot held deep spiritual significance for the Nlaka’pmx people. The roots often grow intertwined with each other, and because of this Nlaka’pmx couples seeking everlasting love would sometimes place bitterroot under their pillows as a “symbolic guiding spirit for their own intimacy”. Once abundant, Bitterroot has become a rare and endangered plant across much of British Columbia due to factors such as overgrazing cattle, soil compaction and industrial land use over the last 100 years.


Traditional Cooking Methods: Camas - YouTube. [accessed 2024 Mar 17].

Camas is a small purple lily that was traditionally harvested for its tasty carbohydrate-rich bulbs. One traditional preparation method for camas includes wrapping the bulbs in skunk cabbage leaves and then allowing them to cook slowly over several hours using a pit cooking method. The link below shows an in-depth demonstration of this.

Due to their inherent sweetness, these bulbs were often utilized as a natural sweetening agent, often being incorporated into cakes and cookies. Despite its sweetness, camas was still considered an anti-diabetic food because it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.

Camas used to be abundant throughout the province, but due to agricultural, industrial and residential land development, the ecosystems it thrives in are rapidly disappearing.

Soap berries:

Lisa. 2021 Jun 15. yel 'as [yel/'as] - whipped soap berries, Indian ice cream. güüdisk. [accessed 2024 Mar 16].

Traditionally soap berries have been used to make “ice cream”. This is done by harvesting, crushing and then whipping fresh (or jarred) berries with water and sugar (optional). When these berries are whipped, they form stiff foamy peaked, similar in texture to meringue. These berries are not usually found on the west coast, but were a popular trade item among different nations. -Additionally to making ice cream, Every part of the soapberry plant can be used for traditional medicines, including roots, leaves, bark, and berries.

Check out the link above for a soap berry recipe.

Whipped Soap berries Facts and Tips

  • Fresh soapberries are better for whipping than ones that have been on the shelf for a while.
  • Soapberries can be green (picked early) or red (ripe). They taste bitter when eaten alone.
  • Soapberries are high in vitamin C and have been used to treat high blood pressure, indigestion, acne, and induce labor.
  • Soapberries can be hard to digest in large quantities, so it's suggested to eat them with a meal or something fatty.


  • Researchers found that soapberries are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that may lower the risk of certain cancers.
  • Soapberries contain saponin, a soap-like compound that can upset the stomach if consumed in large quantities.
  • To avoid an upset stomach, it's recommended to swish whipped soapberries in your mouth or push them through your lips to pop the bubbles before swallowing.

Stinging nettles:

Young stinging nettle shoots were harvested and roasted to be eaten or dried for nettle tea.

Black elderberry:

Berries were harvested and dried for elderberry tea.

Huckleberries, Thimble berries, Saskatoons

These are common berries found throughout the region. These berries were harvested and eaten fresh, made into jams, or dried for later use.

Indigenous Berry History:

Turner, N. 2023. Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge and Traditional Management of Berries In Northwestern North America British Columbia. [accessed 2024 mar 16]'_Knowledge_and_Traditional_Management_of_Berries_In_Northwestern_North_America_British_Columbia

Indigenous Rights: Traditional Indigenous practices for berry harvesting, included controlled burning to promote berry growth, berry patches were often owned by individuals, families, or clans within a given territory, highlighting Indigenous land stewardship practices and the importance of respecting ownership and sharing of resources.

Truth and Reconciliation: The decline in quality and availability of berries in recent years, attributed by the exclusion of Indigenous people from traditional lands and the practices like landscape burning. This highlights the impact of colonization and the need to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Environmental Management: Indigenous practices for managing and harvesting berries include controlled burning, fertilization with natural materials, and transplanting berry bushes. These practices not only enhance berry productivity but also contribute to ecosystem health and biodiversity.

Display photo references:

Soap berries:

Lisa. 2021 Jun 15. yel 'as [yel/'as] - whipped soap berries, Indian ice cream. güüdisk. [accessed 2024 Mar 16].

Hopi corn, Cherokee ground corn, Seminole pumpkin:

How This Indigenous Farmer Is Solving Food Insecurity. wwwyoutubecom. [accessed 2024 Mar 16].

Goose berries:

8 Impressive Health Benefits of Gooseberries. 2019 Jul 8. Healthline.

Wild carrot:

Wild Carrot – Queen Anne’s Lace. 2015 Mar 12. The Northwest ForagerTM. [accessed 2024 Mar 18].

Hazel nut:

Hazelnut farming set to grow in southwestern Ontario. 2015 Jan 7. CBC. [accessed 2024 Mar 18].


 Peterat L. 2017. Okanagan Bitterroot. The British Columbia Food History Network. [accessed 2024 Mar 17].


All photos from Elise Krohn

Service berries:

Serviceberries: Forage the Sweet Fruit for Good Eats. 2023 Jun 5. Gardenista. [accessed 2024 Mar 18].


What are Huckleberries? (with pictures). 2024 Feb 19. Delighted Cooking. [accessed 2024 Mar 18].

Resources Wednesday March 13, 2024

Water Travels A Cycle

David Wilson Sookinakin creates circular compositions that draw from the symbols and stories of his Okanagan First Nations heritage. Exploring traditional narratives and using pictographs based on those found on sites in the Okanagan region, he reinterprets the stories of his people. In this series, the story of water’s social life—from the rain of the clouds, through snowy peaks of mountains, to Spotted Lake where it evaporates—is told in images. David Wilson was born and raised in the Vernon area and is a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. He learned Native art forms from Coastal Salish and Haida Artists in Vancouver, and eventually drew inspiration from his connection to the Okanagan Nation.

(Water Travels a Cycle – Kelowna Art Gallery. [accessed 2024 Mar 13].

Migration Blockage of Salmon Via Dams

The creation of the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) in 1964 blocked the passage of anadromous fish to their spawning grounds in the northern portion of the Columbia River. This resulted in millions of fish not being able to successfully spawn, and huge die offs within the anadromous salmon and steelhead populations. Bonneville. The Dalles, John Day and McNary dams on the lower Columbia when built, allowed fish passage, with a high percentage of die offs. This resulted in a huge decline in the population where the Chinook were almost completely absent from Osoyoos lake. Before the CRT, McIntyre Dam was built in 1954 on the Okanagan River between Vaseux and Osoyoos Lakes. This removed 11.5km of spawning habitat for anadromous salmon. Although the Salmon were not completely removed from Canada through the CRT. They were no longer able to adequately spawn, and with a reduced population their numbers fell to the “odd” sighting.

(McIntyre Dam Fish Passage Efficiency – Okanagan Nation Alliance. [accessed 2024 Mar 13].

(Okanagan Chinook Restoration Program – Okanagan Nation Alliance. [accessed 2024 Mar 13].

Reintroduction of Chinook into Osoyoos and Vaseux Lakes

The Okanagan Nations Alliance (ONA) run the Okanagan Chinook Restoration Program. The program was founded in 1997, when the ONA initiated the proposal of recovering the almost extinct population back into their historical range. The program includes both summer (sl’lwsit) and spring (ntitiyx) spawning populations. Sk’lwsit were deemed Endangered in 2016. This was based on Conservation status assessments done in 2006 and 2016. In June of 2017, juvenile hatched-reared sk’lwist were released into the Okanagan River, this has become an annual release since then. In 2020, eggs were able to be collected by Chinook spawning in the Okanagan River for the first time. Previous to this, they were provided by the Chief Joseph Hatchery, and reared in the ONA’s kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ hatchery in Penticton. In 2009 the McIntyre dam was refitted to allow fish passage. By lessoning the height the Salmon were required to jump, they were then able to bypass the dam and access key tributaries for spawning. The project plan and amount of Chinook released by the Syilx via their website is shown below.

(McIntyre Dam Fish Passage Efficiency – Okanagan Nation Alliance. [accessed 2024 Mar 13].

(Okanagan Chinook Restoration Program – Okanagan Nation Alliance. [accessed 2024 Mar 13].

(ONA. 2017 Jan 1. 140325 MACINTYRE INSERT ONA. https://wwwsyilxorg/fisheries/. [accessed 2024 Mar 10].

Our Journey Bringing the Salmon Home

Only two populations of Sockeye remain in the Columbia River, and Okanagan Sockeye is one of them. Bringing our salmon back from the brink of extinction required six complementary initiatives:

1. Cooperate
Partnerships have been key – in both Canada and the USA . The work was too big to do alone.

2. Keep the water flowing
If a stream dries up because the water has gone to irrigate fields, then salmon can’t spawn. So one of the first things the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) did was to participate in water management decisions to improve water flows along the Okanagan River system, helping to keep water levels as fish friendly as possible.

3. Add another lake
Young salmon hang out in lakes while they grow up enough to migrate. After their return from the ocean and epic journey up the Columbia, mature salmon wait out the summer heat in lakes before spawning. In 2003, with much excitement, the ONA introduced Sockeye fry back into Skaha Lake.

4. Add more river
For more than 60 years, McIntyre Dam stopped salmon in their upstream swim. By facilitating fish passage over McIntyre, salmon gained another 8 kilometers of river and access to tiny Vaseux Lake.

5. Restore what we have
Fish like rivers that meander. Trees create cool shady pools where leaves fall, adding bugs and nutrients. When rivers are channelized, fish suffer, therefore another project has been restoration of a section of the Okanagan River.

6. Our prayers brought the salmon back
Year after year, while our salmon struggled, the Annual Salmon Feast was held at our traditional fishing grounds of Okanagan Falls – giving thanks for the salmon and praying for its return. Today, the ceremony continues with the Nation offering prayers of thanks for the abundant fish.

(Our Journey Bringing the Salmon Home – Okanagan Nation Alliance. [accessed 2024 Mar 13]. (Our Journey Bringing the Salmon Home – Okanagan Nation Alliance. [accessed 2024 Mar 13].

Syilx history in the Westbank area

Before colonization and the imposition of the federal Indian Act in 1876, the Okanagan (syilx) people were self-sufficient and self-governing, thriving on hunting, fishing, gathering, and trading. The Indian Act led to the dismemberment of traditional government and social structures. Reservations were established in British Columbia without input from local Indigenous communities. The Westbank Indian Band, initially part of the Okanagan Indian Band, became independent in 1963. The 1970s saw Westbank exploring self-government, and in the 1980s, it assumed delegated land management powers. Settlements in the early 1980s addressed land claims and compensated for lands taken for highway widening. The Westbank First Nation pursued self-determination in the 1990s, resulting in a Self-Government Agreement in 2000, enacted into law in 2005 after a series of referendums.

(History - Westbank First Nation. [accessed 2024 Mar 13].

Resources Monday, March 11, 2024

The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative (CRSRI) is an Indigenous led collaboration of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, Ktunaxa Nation, Secwépemc Nation, Canada, and British Columbia. This collaboration is committed to working together to understand the feasibility and options for reintroducing salmon into the Canadian side of the Columbia River. (CRSRI 2023)

The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) which includes the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Kalispel Tribe, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, and Spokane Tribe with support from the
United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), have begun a comprehensive investigative project into the reintroduction of anadromous fish to currently blocked habitat upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams. (UCUT 2019)

Kalispel Tribe
An Indigenous led project initiated by the Kalispel Tribe has aimed to reduce the number of invasive northern pike in the Columbia River drainage. Research conducted on the Pend Oreille River revealed an exponential increase from 400 pike in 2006 to more than 10,000 in 2011. During this time, the majority of other fish species declined. Range expansion of Northern Pike into the Columbia River poses a threat to native fish species as well as to the reintroduction of anadromous salmon. (Bean et al. 2014)

Original illustration by Ktunaxa artist Marisa Phillips for Bringing the Salmon Home. The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative.

Kalispel Tribe Northern Pike Reduction Program (Bean et al. 2014)


About UCUT
The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) takes a proactive, collaborative, and science-based approach to promoting fish, water, wildlife, diverse habitat, and Indian culture in the Northwest. We provide a common voice for our region through the collaboration of five area tribes: the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the Spokane Tribe of Indians. Together, we manage and influence nearly two million acres of reservation land, and we influence at least 14 million acres of aboriginal territories, 500 miles of waterways, 40 interior lakes, and 30 dams and reservoirs. Formed in 1982, we came together to ensure a healthy future for the traditional territorial lands of our ancestors. As sovereign nations, we are charged with the protection and enhancement of our natural resources.

By The Numbers:
Established 1982
5 Member Tribes:
Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Indians, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho & Spokane Tribe of Indians
Actively managing about 2 million acres

Risk and Benefit Assessment of a Multi-year Salmon Reintroduction to the Upper Columbia River
In response to the profound impact of anadromous salmon extirpation from the Upper Columbia River on indigenous communities such as the Syilx Okanagan Nation, Ktunaxa Nation, and Secwépemc Nation, collaborative efforts with the governments of Canada and British Columbia are underway. The Grand Coulee dam's construction in the 1940s without a fish ladder effectively halted traditional harvests of ocean-run salmon in the Upper Columbia for nearly a century. The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative (CRSRI) is spearheading an initiative, "Bringing the Salmon Home," aimed at reintroducing salmon stocks to the Upper Columbia for Indigenous cultural, social, and ceremonial purposes, as well as for broader regional benefits. A commissioned technical study by CRSRI explores the potential effects of multi-year salmon reintroductions on the recipient ecosystem, adopting a precautionary approach by assessing risks, benefits, uncertainties, and mitigation strategies before implementation.

The technical study presents a comprehensive Risk and Benefit Assessment Framework (RBAF) designed to support anadromous salmon reintroduction in the Upper Columbia. The focus is on understanding how reintroduced salmon and associated strategies may interact with the existing altered ecosystem, identifying potential ecological risks or benefits. The study includes a Phase I Risk and Benefit Assessment, involving expert elicitation, to evaluate the risks and benefits of two specific multi-year salmon reintroduction strategies. Despite limitations in data availability, the assessment provides a valuable screening tool, paving the way for informed, diligent, and efficient salmon reintroduction
planning, aligning with Indigenous knowledge and the broader habitat and reintroduction studies. The
report emphasizes the timeliness of bringing salmon back to the Upper Columbia after almost a century
of absence.

Fish Passage and Reintroduction into the U.S. and Canadian Upper Columbia Basin (Kalispel)
The joint paper, developed collaboratively by the Columbia Basin tribes and First Nations, serves the purpose of informing a diverse array of stakeholders, including U.S. and Canadian entities, federal governments, and regional sovereigns, about the proposed reintroduction of anadromous salmon and resident fish in the upper Columbia River Basin. The document underscores the importance of fish passage restoration and reintroduction efforts, proposing various mechanisms, including the ongoing modernization of the Columbia River Treaty. Highlighting the cultural, harvest, and spiritual significance of anadromous fish to native peoples, the paper emphasizes the need to integrate these restoration efforts into the broader context of ecosystem-based functions within the Treaty. Furthermore, it recognizes the critical role of such reintroduction initiatives in the adaptation of the ecosystem to climate change, particularly in the context of potential changes in snowmelt dominance in the Canadian portion of the basin.

The transboundary reintroduction proposal outlined in the document concentrates on improving adult and juvenile fish passage at specific dams in both the U.S. (Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee) and Canada (Hugh Keenleyside, Brilliant, Waneta, and Seven Mile). The proposed reintroduction strategy is designed to unfold incrementally, commencing with preliminary planning, research, and experimental pilot studies. These early phases are intended to inform subsequent reintroduction and passage strategies. The envisioned long-term plan involves adaptable elements for salmon reintroduction, including permanent passage facilities, habitat enhancement, artificial propagation, and a comprehensive system for monitoring and evaluation. Acknowledging the financial requirements of such an ambitious endeavor, the paper suggests that funding for planning, feasibility studies, construction, operations, and monitoring can be sourced from various channels, with initial support available through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. The document also notes that some preliminary planning has already occurred in Canadian projects, with power plant operators in Canada legally bound to consider fish passage at specific dams if anadromous fish are successfully reintroduced above certain U.S. dams.


Bean, N., J. Connor, J. Olson and M. Divens. 2014. Mechanical Suppression of Invasive Northern Pike, Pend Oreille River, WA. PowerPoint presentation. Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Usk, WA and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA.

The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative (CRSRI). 2023. Annual Report 2022 - 23.

Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT), 2019. Fish passage and reintroduction Phase 1 report: Investigations upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams. Spokane, Washington, United States of America.

Resources Wednesday, February 28, 2024

White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy: Learning to be Indian
Summary by Ren Penner

The Snʕayčkstx family of Christian and Antoinette Christian lived in a place commonly known now as Brilliant on the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers beside Castlegar B.C. This place is both better and historically known as Kpiƛls, named such by the Snʕayčkstx People. The Christian family lived in two cabins on this land 2 and other First Nations Bands often camped there with them temporarily. Many generations of their ancestors were born and buried at Kpiƛls and have lived in this area for at least the last 4,500 years according to archeological evidence. There are deep ties between this land and the Snʕayčkstx People. Christian and Antoinette are now among those buried at this sacred place along with some of their children and grandchildren.

Photograph of Alex Christian taken by James Teit in 1912.

In 1884, a settler named John Carmichael Haynes received land in the form of a crown grant from the government amounting to 80 hectares. This land parcel was located directly on Kpiƛls. The Christian family only found out that their home had been given to Haynes without their knowledge or consent 30 years later in 1914 when they became aware that it had been sold to a family of Doukhobors in 1912. Between the land that the Doukhobors bought from Haynes and the land they occupied from the provincial government, the Doukhobors wanted the Christian family to move so they could occupy the entire area unencumbered.

Wilkinson M., Sutherland D. 2011. “From our side we will be good neighbor[s] to them”: Doukhobor-Sinixt Relations at the Confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers in the Early Twentieth Century. B.C. Studies Conference, Kelowna. [Accessed 2024 Feb. 24]

The fight of Antoinette Christian and her sons Alex, Baptiste and St. Peter to create an official reserve out of their homeland at Kpiƛls officially began when they started observing and feeling pressure from the settlers in 1901 to vacate the area. They repeatedly contacted R.L.T. Galbraith, an Indian agent on the matter, though he did nothing to help them. Eventually Alex Christian and his family could no longer resist the forces of the white settlers and their government that confronted them and they were forced to leave their home and sacred burial site. This site still exists and continues to be extremely sacred to the Snʕayčkstx people.

The Desautel Decision
Summary by Ren Penner

After having disturbed the Snʕayčkstx ancestors and securing their remains for study in museums, the government refused to return these people to rest under the reasoning that they could not return ancestors to a Tribe that no longer existed. The injustice in this spurred action in the Snʕayčkstx Tribe who spent time understanding the Canadian legal system and considering their options.

A test case was launched to seek confirmation of Indigenous rights under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. A Snʕayčkstx ceremonial hunter, Rick Desautel, was sent north to hunt an elk, which he reported to wildlife officers three times before he was finally charged in 2010. Pleading “not guilty”, he based his position on his status as a Snʕayčkstx hunter with rights in Canada. Snʕayčkstx cultural leaders eloquently denied the province’s claims that their People
had moved south of the border willingly and enthusiastically.


Though the decision was appealed by the government three times over seven years, on March 27th, 2017 Rick Desautel, was acquitted of all charges and it was recognized that he was acting within his rights to hunt on his people’s traditional territory. The judge declared the Snʕayčkstx an official Indigenous People recognized by the province and country. She confirmed that their presence in B.C. pre-dated that of white settlers and that they did not voluntarily leave their territory, the extent of which was also confirmed on this day. This important decision allowed the Snʕayčkstx people to engage in meaningful reconciliation with the government of Canada as members of the Arrow Lakes Tribe of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation only as a “rights holding successor group”

Snʕayčkstx Confederacy. 2023. The Desautel Decision. [accessed 2024, Feb 22]

More information on resources concerning the case can be found here!

Christian Family History: Bernie, Luana, and Lawney. A Legacy Carried On
Summaries by Payton Maffioli

Bernie Whitebear
The youngest child of Mary Christian, and yet spoke the loudest for Indigenous Rights. He was honoured to receive the legacy name of his grandfather Alex Christian who was known as “White Grizzly Bear”. His work took place in Seattle and Bernie advocated for 25,000 urban Indigenous peoples who had no health care and was co-founder of the Seattle Indian Health Board and the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. 1997’s governor of Washington state, Gary Locke, awarded Whitebear with the first “Citizen of the Decade” award. After Whitebear’s death in 2000, Locke then thought he should have been named “Citizen of the Century” instead, because his legacy was powerful and would last for generations.

Reyes. LL. 2006. Bernie Whitebear: An Urban Indian’s Quest for Justice. United States of America. [accessed Feb. 26th, 2024]

A photo of Bernie Whitebear.

Madson J. 2013. Bernie Whitebear and the Urban Indian Fight for Land and Justice - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project. [accessed 2024 Feb 27].

Luana Reyes
A pioneer in Indigenous health rights of the U.S.A, Luana was nothing short of spectacular. Luana Reyes served as the Executive Director of the Seattle Indian Health Board, which her brother co-founded, and helped found the American Indian Health Care Association and the National Coalition of Urban Indian Health Centers. After her death in 2001, she was honoured with the Presidential Rank Meritorious Award, presented annually to top federal managers for exceptional performance. She now has an award in her name known as the Luana Reyes Leadership Award.

A photo of Luana Reyes.

Luana Reyes Leadership Award. Indian Health Service. Washington, USA.[Accessed Feb. 26th, 2024] Luana Reyes Leadership Award | Indian Health Service Director's Awards (

Lawney Reyes
An artist, author, and proud Sinixt man. Lawney left his mark in the hearts of all people alike across North America. He wrote about his grandfather, Alex Christian, who had to fight to survive through Western colonization, and in memory of his brother Bernie Whitebear and his ever-lasting advocacy after his passing. His award-winning art is a work-of-heart with a modern Seattleite twist to commemorate both his ancestry and where he grew up. Lawney was the oldest of the three and lived to 91 years old, and sadly passed in 2022. Before that, he made amends with the Doukhobor community on the land that was once taken from his ancestors, and there a stone was erected in their name to remember them and their history as the Sinixt Nation, and that they are still here.

Photo: Lawney Reyes working on his Wolf Cedar Carving.

Royale R. 2015. Reyes, Lawney (b. 1931). [accessed 2024 Feb 27].

Seattle Civil Rights and Legal History Project featuring Lawney Reyes

See player below for a playlist of videos featuring Lawney speaking about his perspectives and experiences from the Seattle Civil Rights and Legal History Project.

Resources Monday, February 26, 2024


This resource gives a brief description of the territorial lands and traditional way of life of each of the individual tribes (Lakes, Colville, Okanogan, Moses-Columbia, Wenatchi, Entiat, Chelan, Methow, Nespelem, Sanpoil, Chief Joseph Band of Nez Perce and Palus Tribes) which now make up the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation 2024). Each tribe is distinct and unique but also shares “general social and cultural practices and teachings”. This source shows the land which their ancestors traditionally owned, and gives descriptions of their ways of life. Between all the tribes, their traditional land spans 39 million acres within current day Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and BC.

Every tribe listed in this source interacted with the Columbia River in some way (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation 2024). It was a keystone feature in their way of life as they would use it for transportation, for fishing for large salmon species for food, as drinking water, and a means to travel, trade, and meet with other peoples. This source only mentions the sʔukʷnaʔqín (Okanogan), sńʕaýckstx (Lakes), and sx̌ʷýʔłpx (Colville) using the Kettle River. When the northern half of the Colville reservation was taken away the sx̌ʷýʔłpx lost the right to Kettle Falls on their traditional territory. The sx̌ʷýʔłpx lived in round matted houses that were not above ground and lived on diets of mostly fish, which they caught from the Kettle Falls Fishery.

The sńʕaýckstx (Lakes) people traditionally lived as far north as the Big Bend (north of Revelstoke) and as far south as as Northport (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation 2024). When the Canada America border was formed many lived within the original Colville Reservation, however once the northern half was taken, many were forced to move further south or take allotments. Their identity as a nation has been a battle ever since. They relied on the rivers on their land mostly for travel via canoe. They relied less on fishing or gathering, and more on hunting big game animals for food. They lived inn pit houses traditionally.


History of the Colvilles

In 1855 the government of America was determined to make treaties with the Indigenous groups of eastern Washington (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation 2014). The tribes that make up what is now the Colville Tribes, were not part of this negotiation. Then in 1872 the Initial Colville Reservation was created. Initially it was very large encompassing millions of acres of land. It included The Methow, Okanagan, San Poil, Lakes, Colvilles, Kalispels, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and other scattered tribes in the area who had not yet signed treaties. Only three months later government officials changed the agreement to move their reservation to the west side of the Columbia River where the land is less rich in minerals, and limit the land designation significantly to only 2,825,000 acres. Much of their ancestrally important land was not included in this new area. This is the placement of the Colville Reservation today. None of the affected tribes were consulted before this change was made.

Only 20 years after the Colville Reservation was moved, the government took yet another half of their territory by creating an agreement with tribal leaders which ceded the northern half of their territory for only one dollar per acre (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation 2014). This is the area between the Canadian boarder and what is now the upper boarder of the Colville Reservation. The Colville Tribes maintained their right to hunt in the northern half of their initial territory. Then in 1900 the government “opened the southern half” of the reservation to homesteading by colonials, this encompassed another 1,449,268 acres of their land.

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (2014). History Of The Colvilles. Retrieved from

Salmon & Our People: The Chief Joseph Dam Fishery Story

Salmon and Our People: The Chief Joseph Dam Fishery Story is a Colville Confederated Tribes multimedia resource found in the History & Archaeology section of the Nation’s website. The documentary tells the story of the creation of the Chief Joseph Dam and the impacts that it had on the Nations that lived along the river, including the sńʕaýckstx (Sinixt/Lakes) and sx̌ʷýʔłpx (Colville). For 10,000 years Salmon was the mainstay food of the people living along the Kettle and Columbia Rivers.

Narrator Joaquin Marchand recalls: “Since the beginning of time, the foods eaten by Indian peoples living along the rivers of the Northwest were common amongst all tribes…the rhythms of life at that time were based on where and when these foods were available. Salmon was essential food for which people depended on, it was plentiful, it was the major food that people depended on for life, feeding the body, mind, and soul.” The documentary goes on to interview members of different tribes of the Colville Confederation on the importance of salmon to their way of life, and the impact that the construction of the dams has had on their culture, particularly Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams.

            The documentary tells of the construction of Grand Coulee Dam, built without a fish ladder, which stopped the migration of Salmon up to Kettle Falls and the Upper Columbia River. Ron Toulou Sr., Colville Fisherman reflected on the impacts of this dam on his people: “When your people live that way, all your life and that’s how you went and gathered your food and it’s taken away from you and cut off, it’s a disaster, it violates your rights, its just like telling you, ok, you don’t get to eat anymore… there was a lot of anger when that happened”.

            After the construction of the dams, the Colville Confederated Tribes were forced to learn to fish at the Chief Joseph Dam, as the Salmon had no place to go, and the fisherman needed to adapt. Fisherman have developed various techniques for fishing at the dam and at different locations from the wall or by the generators. Just the same as at the old fisheries, Colville members describe the ways that elders teach the younger generations how to fish at the dam, and the importance it has for their health and healing, helping people both physically and spiritually. Another key theme is the importance of sharing and generosity, as has always been the case with harvesting salmon, and sharing the catch with people who are unable to fish for themselves.

            Since the 1970’s however, the numbers of salmon returning to the dam have significantly decreased, and the Chief Joseph Dam Hatchery was built to help bring the salmon back to the people. The documentary tells of the efforts to preserve the genetics of the population as close to natural as possible, only allowing the natural fish up the Okanagan River to spawn. The documentary concludes with a discussion on the importance of preserving the “Chief Jo” fishery, “providing the opportunity for generations to come to harvest fish, continuing the traditions, culture, and spirituality surrounding this fishery.” (Joaquin Marchand).

The Salmon Chief

Artist: The-late Virgil Smoker Marchand, Colville Tribal member.

Photographer: John Fanning

‘The Salmon Chief’ sculpture by the-late Vigil Smoker Marchand stands at Chelan Falls, Washington, USA. Chelan Falls is a located on the Chelan River, in the final gorge between Lake Chelan and the Columbia River, all of which encompasses the traditional territory of the ščəl̕ámxəxʷ (Chelan), one of the Colville Confederated Tribes.

Magazine S, Fanning J. The Salmon Chief. Smithsonian Magazine. [accessed 2024 Feb 19].


Resources Monday, February 19, 2024

A thriving (drowning) future for the Sinixt and other Indigenous Nations.

Everything started with a dream of a dam and a thriving and prosperous future for our economy in BC - but only for some people...

Grand Coulee Dam: Tribal Impacts

This video produced by The Colville Confederated Tribes, History and Archaeology Program describes the many impacts of the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam on local Indigenous Peoples. This hydroelectric dam was constructed, without the consent or consultation of Indigenous Peoples, as part of the Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada. It was built in 1933 in the U.S state of Washington and is the largest concrete dam in North America. The video explains through interviews and historical footage, the massive impacts on the Indigenous Peoples. The construction of dams leads to flooding of traditional lands, resulting in the loss of ancestral territories, cultural sites, and wildlife habitats which are traditionally used for foraging and hunting. The transboundary effects of the damming of the Columbia River, in the land known to us as Canada and The United States, changed the daily life, culture and identity of those who depended on the river to provide salmon, which made up most of their diet and holds huge cultural significance. The Columbia River is the most industrialized river in the world and its development continues to negatively impact the rights, culture, tradition, and identity of Indigenous communities.

Grand Coulee Dam: Tribal Impacts [streaming video]. 2017. The Colville Confederated Tribes, History and Archaeology Program. 33:56 min. [accessed 2024 Feb 7]. Grand Coulee Dam: Tribal Impacts — CCT.HSY (

Storytelling in Salishan

Story telling is an important method of cultural expression amongst First Nations communities. These stories, often called “animal stories” are a way to teach valuable lessons to the younger generation and share cultural values. Stories are often shared during social gatherings and help keep Indigenous language alive.
Grahm Wiley-Camacho is a Sinixt Salish Immersion Elementary Teacher in Spokane; WA. Grahm’s Youtube Channel is dedicated to Salich language revitalization and includes a variety of lessons and traditional “animal stories”.

Baxter J. 2023. Storytelling. Sinixtcom. [accessed 2024 Feb 10].

West Moberly First Nations Announces Partial Settlement of Civil Claim.


The impacts of new dam construction are still an issue that we are facing in British Columbia. Site C Dam is a hydro dam that is currently under construction on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia. The government approved construction in 2014, but it faced several court challenges from landowners and First Nations. The Site C Dam will flood 28 km of the Peace River and its tributaries, putting Indigenous burial grounds, traditional hunting and fishing areas, habitat for many vulnerable species, and rich farmland under water.
This document is a press release from West Moberly First Nations who has reached a partial settlement with the Province of British Columbia, BC Hydro, and Canada concerning their civil claim related to the Site C Dam project. The dam’s construction is expected to cause irreversible damage to traditional territory, including poisoning of watercourses with methylmercury, destruction of ancestral sites, and loss of plant and wildlife habitats. The project has been criticized by the United Nations for its impacts to Indigenous Peoples’ rights and proceeded without consent.
West Moberly has opposed the project for decades, but agreed to settle pat of the court case, acknowledging that dismantling the dam is unlikely at this stage. They plan to utilize the settlement benefits to reclaim and restore land, revitalize their community’s culture, and mitigate the projects and participating in ongoing restoration efforts. West Moberly's remaining claim targets current hydroelectric dams and their effects on Indigenous lands. They want the government to be accountable for violating Treaty 8 and damaging their territory. They've been in Northeast BC for over 13,000 years and insist on protecting their traditional way of life and land.

Chief Roland Willson. 2022. West Moberly First Nations Announces Partial Settlement of Civil Claim. West Moberly First Nations Press Release. [accessed 2024 Feb 7]. West Moberly First Nations Announces Partial Settlement of Civil Claim - West Moberly First Nations.

Tribal nations gather at Kettle Falls Salmon ceremony

Kettle falls is a place of cultural importance to many indigenous communities, today residing on both sides of the USA-Canada border. Historically, multiple locations along the Columbia River were visited annually by First Nation to gather and fish. The annual salmon run of the Columbia River proved to be a valuable food source to the First Nations living in proximity to it. Additionally, fishing was, and still is, an important practice for its social and ceremonial qualities. The construction of the Grand Coulee Dam changed the natural cycles of the river and has since had significant impacts on anadromous fish migration paths, including those of salmon.
Every year, Indigenous communities from all over travel to Kettle Falls and other significant fishing sites to call the salmon to the river. Though these migrations have changed in recent decades, this tradition continues to hold equal meaning and importance. Salmon Calling Ceremonies are attended by both youths and elders and are a time for prayer, connecting and storytelling.

Sellars S. 2023. Tribal nations gather at Kettle Falls Salmon ceremony. Tribute Tribune. [accessed 2023 Jan 8]. -5e25-11ee-970d-53a94f92b21e.html

       Kootenay Morning with James Baxter

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation opens its first office in Nelson. This 15 minutes Kootenay Co-op Radio interview with James Baxter, Sinixt Principal Biologist/Senior Manager of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, covers important history on the local Sinixt people of our region.
In 1956, Sinixt people were declared extinct by the Canadian Government making the next decades a challenging time to many First Nations communities, affecting many individual’s identity and limiting rights to hunt and fish on traditional territory. It wasn’t until 2021 that the Sinixt people were once again recognized by the Canadian Government following a supreme court case on the matter.
James Baxter continues, discussing the meaning of this new Fish and Wildlife office, their intentions and role within the local Sinixt community. This new Nelson base is set to provide an important platform to better voice opinions and create an influential Sinixt presence in the area.

Zych E, Baxter J. 2023. Kootenay Morning with James Baxter. [accessed 2024 Jan 9].

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Selkirk College acknowledges the traditional territories of the Sinixt (Lakes), the Syilx (Okanagan), the Ktunaxa and the Secwépemc (Shuswap) Peoples.
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