Photo: Mike Graeme

We've Always Been here

West of the great Rocky Mountains, the Monashee, Selkirk and Purcell ranges rise up.  These mountains define our territory. They long shaped our way of travel – north-south, along the Columbia River and its fast-flowing tributaries. The steep mountains host a unique inland temperate rainforest. For millennia, they protected our cultural identity.

Our territory includes the drainage area of the Columbia River, the Arrow, Slocan, Trout and Kootenay Lakes; the Columbia, Lardeaux, Duncan, Slocan, and lower Kootenay Rivers; the Monashee, Selkirk and Purcell mountains.  It extends south across the International boundary along the Columbia/Kettle River basins into present-day Washington State, ending at Kettle Falls, Washington. The entire Kettle River region is Sinixt traditional territory.

We have gratitude for the memory of the Salmon Fishery at Sounding Water/Noisy Water, also called the historic Kettle Falls, Washington.  At the southernmost point of our territory, these falls provided abundant food for tribes throughout the Inland Northwest. We shared the responsibility of this fishery with our close friends, the Skoyelpi tribe.  As Salmon (Chinook, coho, sockeye and steelhead trout species) traveled upstream, they entered the rapids and waterfalls of our territory. Their biological value increased as hundreds of thousands spawned in our waters, filling our mountain territory with their sacred life cycle. 

Historical photo showing Kettle Falls in 1930s
Kettle Falls looking upstream, 1930s
Map of Kettle Falls tribal settlement areas
Map of Kettle Falls tribal settlement areas as described to Verne Ray by Chief James Bernand

Today, the Grand Coulee Dam blocks those salmon from their timeless journey.  We intend to bring them home.

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