Canoe Creek First Nation are a Northern Inland Salish people of the Shuswap (Secwepemc) Nation located in a semi remote area southwest of Williams Lake on the east side of the Fraser River in British Columbia, Canada.
Tribal Name: Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation
Band No. 723
Traditional Name: Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (SXFN)
Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation was once two distinct bands: Canoe Creek Band and Dog Creek Band. The population of the two communities suffered a dramatic decline in the late 19th century, largely due to a smallpox epidemic in 1863-1864. The population of Dog Creek was reduced from more than two hundred members in the 1850s to a mere 20 members by the late 1860s.
These two lower Fraser River bands joined together in the late nineteenth century and were then referred to as Canoe Creek Band by the Department of Indian Affairs.
Related Bands: Canim Lake Band, Soda Creek Band and Williams Lake Band
Province: British Columbia
Aboriginal Status: Non-Treaty Indians
Tribal Affiliation: Salish -> Interior Salish ->Secwepemc
There are 17 bands that form the greater Secwepemc Nation.
Governance: A Chief and 5 Councillors. They use the Act Electoral System. They are defined as Section 11 by the Indian Act.
Political Organizations: North Shuswap Tribal Council
Reserve: 12 reserves
|08250||CANOE CREEK 1||LILLOOET DISTRICT, IN TP 4, ON CANOE CREEK 5 MILES NORTH- EAST OF MOUTH ON THE FRASER RIVER||37.2|
|08251||CANOE CREEK 2||LILLOOET DISTRICT IN TPS. 3&4, ON CANOE CREEK 6 MILES EAST OF MOUTH ON THE FRASER RIVER||1804.9|
|08252||CANOE CREEK 3||LILLOOET DISTRICT ON LEFT BANK OF THE FRASER RIVER 4 MILES SOUTH OF MOUTH OF DOG CREEK||2804.9|
|08253||SPILMOUSE 4||LILLOOET DISTRICT, ON CANOE CREEK, 1 MILE NORTH OF CANOE CREEK I.R. NO. 2||161.8|
|08254||FISH LAKE 5||LILLOOET DISTRICT, ON NORTH SHORE AT WEST END OF CANOE LAKE HEAD OF CANOE CREEK||40.9|
|08255||TINMUSKET 5A||LILLOOET DISTRICT, LOT 5041, 7 MILES NORTHWEST OF THE 70 MILE HOUSE P.G.E. STATION||16.2|
|08256||COPPER JOHNNY MEADOW 8||LILLOOET DISTRICT, LOT 683, ON SMALL LAKE 1 MILE NORTH OF MEADOW LAKE, 16 MILES NORTHWEST OF 70 MILE HOUSE P.O.||32.4|
|08257||TOBY LAKE 6||LILLOOET DISTRICT, ON TOB Y LAKE, 3 MILES NORTH OF ALBERTA LAKE, 11 MILES NORTHWEST OF 70 MILE HOUSE||129.5|
|08258||DOG CREEK 1||LILLOOET DISTRICT , ON DOG CREEK, 4 MILES EAST OF CREEK MOUTH ON THE FRASER RIVER||144.7|
|08259||DOG CREEK 2||LILLOOET DISTRICT, ON DOG CREEK, 8 MILES EAST OF CREEK MOUTH ON THE FRASER RIVER||218.5|
|08260||DOG CREEK 3||LILLOOET DISTRICT, ON DOG CREEK 10 MILES EAST OF MOUTH ON THE FRASER RIVER||8.1|
|08261||DOG CREEK 4||LILLOOET DISTRICT, ON LEFT BANK OF THE FRASER RIVER, NORTH OF MOUTH OF DOG CREEK, SOUTH OF WYCOTT’S FLAT I.R. NO. 6||183.7|
Communities: Canoe Creek Band is made up of two communities, Dog Creek which is where the administration office is located and Canoe Creek.
This First Nation is located between 50 and 350 Km from the nearest service centre to which it has year-round road access. Both communities are located in a semi remote area southwest of Williams Lake on the east side of the Fraser River. Each of the main communities of Dog Creek and Canoe Creek are situated on approximately 50 hectares of land, most of it rocky slopes and gravel on the remaining portion.
Treaties: They are in Stage 4 of the Northern Shuswap NStQ treaty process.
Population: About 745.
The native language is Shuswap, a Salishan language. 13.2% speak some of their native language and 2% speak it as a first language.
There was no hierarchy or class divisions in Shuswap culture. Dvisions were based on age, gender and sex but did not imply classes. Food and other resources were distributed equally.
There were two types of leaders: hereditary chiefs and task oriented leaders.
The duties of the hereditary chief included: overseeing the band’s general welfare, ensuring that resources were properly managed and distributed, that all band members were contributing and behaving according to standard and to act as a role model.
The hereditary chief was the agent of the band in dealing with outsiders.
The role of the hereditary chief also extended into spiritual matters such as presiding over a gathering for the purpose of passing the name of a dead relative to one of the living.
Also the Chief was presented with the first salmon of the season caught and the first berries picked. No one could eat until the chief was presented with it.
The hereditary chief also presided over legal matters. His role in these matters was arbitrator and moderator (judge and referee). As the chief was hereditary, the position was passed down through the family, and on the death of the chief one of his sons (not necessarily the eldest) would become chief. The community would meet and decide which son was best suited for the job or, (if there was no son ) the chief’s brother would assume the role.
Each band also had task leaders. They were elected because of their particular skill at an activity. Task leaders might include salmon fishing organizer, war chief, hunting chief, or chief of dances.
There were two types of hunting task leaders: the first inherited his position and was responsible for regulating hunting in specific locations. For example leading people and showing them where they could hunt.
The second was a professionally trained hunter who received special spiritual, technical and physical training that involved learning the habits of the animals, tracking, and shooting the animal.
Ceremonies / Dances:
The Secwepemc people have a rich and vibrant culture. They hold many spiritual and secular ceremonies to honour and celebrate special events, such as the first roots of the season, salmon fishing, spirit dances, family gatherings and name-giving ceremonies.
Fishing and hunting ceremonies, which include prayers and songs, are conducted to ensure a successful harvest and to ensure a continual and plentiful supply of food. Four days of sweat lodge ceremonies and fasting are conducted before hunting and fishing. The ceremonies include thorough cleansing of the body, mind, and spirit.
Weapons are also cleansed thoroughly. Songs, dances, and prayers are conducted before and after the hunt. Before a hunter can kill a deer, he must sing the song to honor the animal and thank it for offering itself for food.
The men also performed the deer song and dance at various celebrations to show respect and thankfulness to the deer. The Secwpemc also conducted songs and dances for the bear, prairie chicken, owl, fawn, eagle, salmon, and all other animals important to them.
Songs and dances for spiritual and ceremonial purposes include: shaman, love, potlatch, sweatlodge, mourning, war, marriage, berry picking. Songs and dances are also conducted for entertainment and enjoyment. They hold many of their ceremonial dances in winter.
Most clothing was produced from tanned animal hides of deer, elk, bear, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, marmot, rabbit and beaver. Traditional clothing consisted of shirts, breechcloths, and long leggings for men, and dresses and short leggings for women.
Both men and women wore moccasins adorned with decoration, and caps and robes were added to provide additional warmth during the long cold winters.
The Shuswap are best known for their moccasins. Moccasins were constructed according to a number of designs: cross-cut toe, rounded toe, pointed toe, or with a continuous seam around the foot attaching the upper piece to the sole. The design, like most clothing, is determined by climate and aesthetic appeal.
The Secwepemc people produce fine art work, often marking and decorating utilitarian items with geometric designs. Several fine examples exist of sculpted antler knife handles and steatite tobacco pipes with human and animal faces carved into the trumpet-shaped bowls and silver inlay enhancing the pipe stems.
Complex and symbolic designs have been inscribed into such finely crafted items as combs, needles and fishing tools, designs which are similar in many cases to the dramatic archaeological remains of pictographs found throughout traditional Shuswap territory.
Pictographs were painted onto rock faces with a red ochre pigment which was mixed with salmon eggs or animal fat, making it a bright and very durable paint. This same colouring can also be found on decorated clothing and moccasins, painted on bows and arrows, and rubbed into the incised marks on needles and other utilitarian or decorative objects.
Moccasins and other items of clothing are often beautifully embellished with porcupine or bird quills, native copper, dentalium shells, elk teeth, or animal bones.
With the arrival of non-native goods to Secwepemc territory early in the 19th century, the Shuswap introduced new materials into the manufacture and decoration of moccasins, such as colourful glass beads. The use of traditional and modern materials in the same piece is a hallmark of contemporary Secwepemc arts and crafts.
The world was created by the Old One with the help of Coyote and other Transformers. Once the earth was created, the elements, plants and animals, birds and fish and water were introduced. The Old One then led the different tribes into their countries and disappeared back to the Spirit World, where it is said he still communicates with some people today.
The exploits of Coyote (Seklep), who was sent to put the world in order, are found at the centre of most Shuswap myths and legends. The water monster, canibal giant, and little people are also frequently in their stories.
The Canoe Creek band are Northern Inland Salish people of the Shuswap Nation. Salmon is a staple of their diet, as well as other fish, birds, and land animals, roots and berries. They were semi-nomadic because the growing season is short this far north and the animals move about at certain times of year in relation to the weather.
The Secwepemc receive messages from the animals and birds who tell them when it is time to harvest and gather certain foods and medicines. The cricket will tell the Secwepemc when it is time to catch the salmon.
The Secwepemc, or Shuswap people, have lived in the high Plateau of South Central British Columbia for at least 4000 years, although one radiocarbon identification of an incomplete skeleton of a young man discovered at Gore Creek, near Kamloops, places the time of death some 8200 years ago.
Anthropologists believe the earliest occupants of the Plateau entered from the south sometime after the glacial retreat freed the land. Shuswap elders say their people have lived on this land forever.
Simon Fraser was probably the first non-native to extensively explore the northern and western parts of the Interior Plateau in 1808.
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