Investing with Samahquam Nation

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Overview

Region:  Lower Mainland/Southwest

Nation:  In-SHUCK-ch

SamahquamLogoThere was a valley-wide outmigration which began in earnest around 1950, because of the isolation and absence of services, opportunity and jobs. As a result, the Samahquam Ucwalmicw had no permanent resident population on their Indian reserves of Baptiste Smith 1 and 1a, Samahquam IR1 and Sachteen IRs 2 and 2a before 1990.

They had to overcome INAC’s policy of not funding capital works, infrastructure, and even community development planning for Indian reserves that had no resident populations. With no resident populations, there was no access to INAC funding support.

This began turning around in the mid-1980s, when Samahquam the leadership secured Canada Employment support and used band funds to begin planning. As band planner, supported by band funds, Eppa (Gerard Peters) and his team created the band’s first Community Development Plan, in 1987.

By 1990, Eppa (Gerard Peters) and Brenda (Lester) and Patrick (Wallace) took up permanent residence in a converted school bus at Sachteen, and began a Canada Employment sponsored log building course there.

Two homes were constructed, and remain on-site. Another was built, and moved to the (former) Baptiste Smith community, and is Lloyd and Julie Smith’s home. Another houses the community’s diesel generators. With connection to the hydro grid, these will soon be de-commissioned, and the building will be turned over to other uses.

Once INAC policies were overcome, a return home began in earnest in the early 1990s, with construction of the (Baptiste Smith) community at the southwest end of Little Lillooet Lake on the Lillooet River system.

Ancestors, in the pre-contact period were known to occupy both sides of the lake. Archaeological evidence shows that this site was an important one in the past. In more recent historical times,

The present Indian reserve site was a ‘pre-emption’, made by “Smith”. In the early historical period of BC, this allowed Europeans to obtain land, by working it. This same benefit was not allowed for Indians.

The Harrison-Lillooet wagon road came through this area, with an important stop at 29-Mile House, across the narrows from the present community.

The gold rush road connected the Harrison, Lillooet, Anderson and Seton lakes, where steamships were used to bring miners to the gold fields.

The allotment of Indian reserves occurred in two waves, first in 1881 by the Indian Reserve Commission and again in 1916 by the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs.

Map

Latitude: 49° 59' 10".679 N
Longitude: 122° 26' 55".165 S

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