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FIRST NATIONS

History

The Dakelh/Carrier people are part of the vast Athapaskan tribe, which is divided into three areas: Northern, Southern and Central Carrier. Carrier people all speak the same language, however we have 18 different dialects in our region. Carrier nations struggled communicating with traders, until experienced guides who originated from blended European and Aboriginal parentage became conversant in what became known as Chinook. Chinook is a mixture of English, French and Aboriginal which eventually evolved into the local vernacular.

Long before the arrival of prospectors during the Cariboo Gold Rush of 1862, the Southern Carrier people lived off the land, occupying the area from Bowron Lakes in the east to the upper Blackwater and Dean Rivers in the west. The Southern Carrier Nation were known among themselves as 'Uda Ukelh', meaning 'people who travel by boat on water early in the morning'.

They travelled by trail or portage to hunt, fish and trade with fur traders. They offered furs, food, fish and hand-sewn tanned leather clothing in exchange for tools, blankets, kettles and guns. Tragically, foreigners brought more than just trade items. In 1862, the introduction of diseases generated devastating epidemics that killed almost one-third of all the Aboriginal people in British Columbia. One such epidemic completely wiped out an entire band that resided in the Cariboo Mountains, known as the Bear Lake Band.

The Southern Carrier Nation bands were divided into five separate bodies in the early 1800s. The bands were 'Ulkatchot-en, Lhoosk'uzt'en, Nazkot'en and Lhtakot'en. The fifth band was Bear Lake band in the east, which we know little about due to the devastating disease that killed all of its members.

Lhtakoh - 'Where the three rivers meet'. Referring to the conjuncture of the Quesnel, Fraser and Baker rivers, the Lhtako Band (also known as Red Bluff Band) occupy a region located 5km south of Quesnel.

'Ulkatcho - 'People of the fat of the land'. This band occupied the upper Blackwater river, the upper Dean river, the Gatcho and the Qualcho lakes region. Today, they occupy a region known as Anahim Lake located 350 km west of Williams Lake with 720 members living on reserve and 200 living off reserve lands.

Lhoosk'us - 'half or side of white fish is white'. Located in the traditional region of their ancestors known as 'Uskai Talbun Tl'at - 'Blood flows into the bay of the lake'.

www.lhooskuz.com

Ndazkoh - 'The river flowing from the south'. Today Nazko First nation is a proud community of 407 members of Southern Carrier ancestry. Inhabiting three reserves, Baezaeko, Bunchek and Chuntezn'ai loacted approximately 120 km west of Quesnel.

www.nazkoband.ca

 

Today, there are various annual events in the community to celebrate local First Nations culture:

National Aboriginal Day: www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100013248/1100100013249

Annual Pow Wow: www.quesnel-friendship.org

 

Nek'Oh Tse K'ut: 'Footprints in Stone'

The Quesnel & District Museum and Archives developed an exhibit in 2006, dedicated to our local First Nations. The effort was a collaboration between local First Nations and the Museum to provide visitors and residents an opportunity to learn and understand the diverse culture of the region. 

The exhibit features interactive video kiosks where visitors can listen to short stories by Elders.

A self-guided 'Aboriginal Walking Tour' is available from the Quesnel Visitor Centre. Many signs along the Riverfront Trail also highlight Southern Carrier culture and heritage sites.

 
Super Natural British ColumbiaCity of Quesnel
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Moonrise Film Festival

Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
@ Sunset Theatre
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