The Sinixt Nation claim the Slocan Valley as part of their traditional territory. In the early 1900s they were granted reserve lands at Oatscott, but in the 1950s when they were declared extinct the land was sold. They currently occupy a Sacred Village Site in Vallican.
The Ktunaxa Nation claim this Valley as their part of their traditional territory.
The Secwepmec Nation (also known as Shuswap) claim this Valley as part of their traditional territory.
The Syilx Nation (also called the Okanagan Nation Alliance) include the Slocan Valley as part of their traditional territory.
There is no doubt that many Nations spent time and gathered resources here in the Slocan Valley.
When mining opened up the area, miners and other settlers flooded in. There is a story about Indigenous people camping on the beach at what is now the Village of Slocan. They left the beach soon after the miners arrival.
Through archeological digs that uncovered pithouses at the Slocan Narrows Archeological Project, we know that the first peoples who occupied this area did so off and on for thousands of years.
We can see the pictographs on the rocks around Slocan Lake, and know that First Nations people were here. Some believe that the pictographs may have been produced during vision quests.
We, who are newcomers to this Valley, cannot begin to know how this area was used by the Indigenous people but we can imagine that with the salmon runs and the abundance of wildlife that this area was a “hidden” gem known only to some.
First Peoples Map of BC is an interactive map which showcases art, culture and language.
BC’s Assembly of First Nations also has an interactive map.