History of the city. Indigenous People of Kamloops
Updated March 2018
I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Peoples, who today are a Nation made up of 17 bands.
In the course I will often refer to three key resources. One is British Columbia Newcomers’ Guide to Resources and Services Kamloops Edition and second one is BC 211 or Access Kamloops and the third one Welcome to Canada guide produced by Federal Government of Canada. British Columbia Newcomers’ Guide to Resources and Services Kamloops 2015 Edition provides information that is up to date at the time of release. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and web addresses (URLs) may change without notice. For more up-to-date information, please visit: www.welcomebc.ca/newcomers_guide/newcomerguide.aspx If the link is broken for any of the resources please type the name of the resource in Google Search and if you find a new link let me know via e-mail email@example.com so I can update it.
BC has also created guide for seniors. The eleventh edition of the BC Seniors’ Guide provides essential information for 55+ residents of BC. For information about government programs and services, visit www.SeniorsBC.ca
Kamloops has a strong Indigenous history. Secwepemc (pronounced Se-KWEP-umk-wh) means “The People”. Early settlers had trouble pronouncing the word and chose to say “Shuswap” instead. The Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park provides visitors with information about First People of Kamloops. The Kamloops Indian Band Timeline documents challenges and success milestones experienced by Indigenous People of Kamloops. Jenna K. Foster’s undergraduate thesis documents a dark history of The Kamloops Residential School: Indigenous Perspectives and Revising Canada’s History. The goal of Foster’s thesis project is to reveal a part of Canadian history that is not widely known to the general Canadian public. The study examines the Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS).
Women’s history is also well documented in Kamloops. The Untold Stories: Valuing Women’s Contributions to Community Life in Kamloops, British Columbia article explores women’s contribution to Kamloops from 1920 to present. You can also read Andrew Yarmie’s book on Women Caring for Kamloops 1890-1975.
The research on newcomers’ settlement experience in Kamloops is well documented by the faculty members from the TRU School of Social Work and Human Service: Settlement Experiences in a Small City: Kamloops, British Columbia and Settlement Experiences of Family Class Immigrants in a Small City: Kamloops, British Columbia. B.C. Community Profiles in 2011 released a brief paper to Focus on Immigration and Diversity. The gaps in service delivery and ideas for new services are discussed in the Rural Development Institute Report. The purpose of this project is to better understand the settlement and integration services available to newcomers and to explore the service gaps and opportunities in Kamloops, British Columbia and 28 other rural communities across Western Canada. Top services needed for Kamloops area are outlined as assistance finding a job, educational upgrading, occupational mentorship and networking, language training, interpretation services, greeting upon arrival, information and orientation. You can also read the full study on Immigration Settlement Services and Gaps in CIC’s Western Region. The Kamloops Immigrant Services also produced the paper to “distribute information regarding the next steps for improving the capacity of Kamloops to be more welcoming and inclusive of new immigrants”: Coming Together to Support Diversity in Kamloops: A Recommendations Paper.
One can also review fast facts about Kamloops and learn that there are 82 parks in Kamloops, covering a total of 1,350 hectares. Kamloops is Canada’s Tournament Capital, and hosts over 100 tournaments each year consisting of 27, 878 participants. The name Kamloops comes from the Secwepemc word T’kemlups meaning “the meeting of the rivers.” Kamloops is on the meeting point of the South Thompson and the North Thompson which, together, create the Thompson River. Kamloops was incorporated as a city in 1893. Kamloops is unique in that its adjacent hillsides are grass-covered with considerable sagebrush but little tree growth to the 900m level, creating what is known as an inverted tree line. In most places the trees won’t grow above a certain level due to the lack of precipitation, but in Kamloops, they won’t grow below a certain level due to the lack of precipitation. In the young years of Kamloops, the river was used as a trade route for transporting goods. There were many boats, including paddle boats, which went up and down the river carrying food, supplies and fur.
Kamloops Museum and Achieves provides lots of information on local history including 1912 European Colonial version of Kamloops history on “The Founding of Kamloops” and City of Kamloops modern version of Kamloops history: “The Kamloops area has been inhabited by the Secwépemc and Nlaka’pamux peoples, who have lived here for close to 10,000 years. The fur trade arrived in Kamloops in 1811 when three traders came to the area and established trade with the local Indigenous population. They installed a post for the Astoria Company in 1812, which later became a Hudson’s Bay Company fort. The next big influx of people came with the gold rush. While the gold rush did not pan out, provincial incentives for land ownership brought others and turned former gold rushers into homesteaders, kick-starting ranching in the region. With the promise of a railway, British Columbia joined Canada in 1871. Construction came to Kamloops in 1883, bringing railway workers and establishing Kamloops as a transportation hub with the railway’s completion in 1886 and a second railway in 1912”. David LI. Davies, a resident of Kamloops, wrote an article The Railway History of Kamloops B.C. A Century Old Story and provided a railway story of the city where the routes of the two transcontinental railways converge/diverge. Bruce Baugh shared his regular walk from downtown Kamloops, British Columbia, to Thompson Rivers University in the article: Space and Place: Walking through Kamloops.
There is so much to learn about Kamloops, Indigenous People and local history. If you know any other resources, please feel free to share, and I will include them on the list.