1774: During this summer, the first recorded encounter with Europeans was that
of the Haida who allowed the crew of Spanish navigator Juan Perez to disembark upon their territory.
A few years later, the Nuu-Chah-Nulth of Nootka Sound allowed British explorer James Cook to spend a
number of weeks with them to trade European goods for sea-otter furs while his crew made repairs to
1792: There were twenty-one ships engaged in trade, most being British. The maritime trade had begun.
1807:Four new trading forts had been established only a few hundred
kilometres up the Fraser River from Upper St̓át̓imc territory.
1808:In the spring the NorthWest Company hired a young explorer named Simon
Fraser to chart a course from Fort George down a river [that many
Europeans then mistakenly believed was the Columbia River] to the
1808: On June 14, the Upper St̓át̓imc chiefs held a meeting upon Frasers arrival at Sat'.
1812:Following Simon Frasers journey, the North West Company established a
new route which followed the Thompson River up to Fort Kamloops.
1821: The Hudsons Bay Company assumed control of the posts formerly owned by the North West Company.
1840s - late: The Hudsons Bay Company considered establishing a
shipping route through St'át'imc territory from Fort Langley to their
1842: The first missionary to visit
the cwalmicw of the interior was Father Modeste Demers, a Roman
Catholic priest. He stayed in Williams Lake during the Winter.
1845:Another Catholic missionary, Father John Nobili travelled into the
Cariboo where he stayed for two years in attempt to establish missions
among the Carrier, Secwpmec and Tsilhqotin Nations.
1847:A scout sent to assess the route, warned of large St̓át̓imc settlements
along the Fraser River and of great gatherings at Fountain where, he
reported, four- to five-thousand Native people met each autumn.
1800's - mid: Trade relations with the Chilcotin (Psxíxnem) to the north began after the two nations reached a peace agreement.
1850's - early: Small amounts of gold had begun to be traded by Úcwalmicw traders at the Hudsons Bay forts.
1858:The Upper St̓át̓imc territory was invaded by thousands of miners
seeking gold in Lillooet district and beyond. This invasion brought
hunger and starvation to the Upper St̓át̓imc. Salmon runs which had
failed for the year prior, failed again that year and then the next.
1858: A new colonial government was introduced on the mainland.
1858: Hundreds of Upper St̓át̓imc reportedly died of starvation during winter.
1859: The Upper St̓át̓imc appealed to Chief Justice M.B. Begbie to defend the rights of their people.
1859: The Upper St̓át̓imc faced another winter of starvation when the salmon runs failed again.
1860s: The Oblates had established a network of missions extending up
the Fraser River from St. Marys at Mission to St. Josephs at
1860: In August, the Colonial
Governor promised Upper St̓át̓imc leaders that their rights, as members
of the British commonwealth, would be upheld under British Law.
1861: The colonial government passed a law that claimed all of the Upper St̓át̓imc territory for the colony of British Columbia.
1862: Academics have traced the introduction of the smallpox epidemic to a sailor who arrived in Victoria in March.
1862:In early December, the first cases of smallpox were discovered in the
Lillooet district, all carried by men who had just arrived from the
1863: The Upper St̓át̓imc were visited by the first Oblate missionary.
1863:With the completion of the Cariboo wagon road, miners and freighters
began to travel up the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, by-passing
Cayoose-Lillooet and using Ashcroft as the new staging grounds instead.
1864:Governor Douglas departed from office. By this time very little land of
the Upper St̓át̓imc had been protected. Early reserves for the Upper
St̓át̓imc were supposed to be laid out by the magistrate at Lillooet in
the late 1860s and early 1870s. Governor Douglas had instructed his
local officials, to stake out and reserve for their [Upper St̓át̓imc]
use and benefit, all their occupied village sites and cultivated fields
and as much land in the vicinity of each as they could till, or was
required for their support.
1866: Úcwalmicw are prohibited from pre-empting land. Settlers are allowed to pre-empt up to 320 acres.
1867:The hotels, stores and stables at Cayoose which had been filled a few
years earlier with the second largest non-Native population north of
San Francisco were deserted.
1870s: The people of Bridge River constructed a flume to water their farms.
1871:The Dominion government assumed the responsibilities of the Crown
toward aboriginal nations. They wanted reserve size to be set at 80
acres per family. The Province, however, insisted upon 10 acres as a
1871: Pasture leases are extended
only to settlers who hold current pre-emption records. Some pasture
leases cover tens of thousands of acres.
single piece of legislation called the Indian Act brought together a
series of laws made by the Canadian Government during the late
nineteenth century that were designed to regulate the land and affairs
of Úcwalmicw in Canada. The laws were applied to cwalmicw in British
Columbia for the first time in the 1880s.
1880s - 1890s: Other Upper St̓át̓imc communities built extensive irrigation structures for farming purposes.
1880:The province had grounded the work of the Reserve Commission by
refusing to recognize the authority of the head commissioner, Gilbert
Sproat, to allot certain reserves and water rights.
1881:By this time, members of Pavilion band owned 140 horses, Fountain had
270, Lillooet had 133 and Bridge River had 114. Horses were used for
practical purposes; but like today, they also signified the status and
wealth of their owners.
1881: The Commission renewed
its work and the original commissioners were removed. The
brother-in-law of Joseph Trutch, Peter OReilly, was appointed their
1881: By this time, churches had
been built in most Upper St̓át̓imc communities: Nxwísten, Sek̓wel̓ws,
T̓ít̓q̓et, Cáclep, Ts̓kwylaxw, Tsal̓álh, Nqayt and Nk̓áwtkwa.
1883: Chief Tsil.hsalst and several members of the Fountain band purchased 160 acres from rancher Joseph Italian. (Lot 37)
1883 - 1884: During this winter an Indian Agent first visited Upper
St̓át̓imc communities. Over the next few decades, the Agent, who was
based north of Upper St̓át̓imc territory and whose duties involved
travelling throughout the Cariboo usually only visited once a year.
1899: Beginning this year, some of the children who lived near the town
of Lillooet were allowed to attend the public school there.
1903:The Provincial Fisheries Department constructed a hatchery on the east
end of Seton Lake, placing a weir across the mouth of Portage Creek to
catch salmon as they returned to Seton Lake to spawn.
1904:Chief Louis of the Secwpmec Nation and Chief Chillihitza of the
Okanagan Nation travelled together to England to present their
grievances to King Edward VII.
1905: A hunting
permit system, introduced by the provincial government, restricted the
ability of Upper St̓át̓imc men to provide adequate deer meat to feed
1906: A second delegation of chiefs,
this time representing both the interior and the Coastal Nations, again
travelled to England to present their request for a treaty.
1906: The people of Cácl̓ep [Fountain] petitioned the government to protect their lands that had not been reserved by OReilly.
1907:The Tswán̓am'c and Secwápmec nations hired a lawyer to counsel them in
their case, while various petitions were organized among the nations of
the interior and the coast.
1908: The Lillooet public school closes down.
1908:The Upper St̓át̓imc sent their grievances to Ottawa in trust of Chief
Basile of the Bonaparte Band, a Secwpmec leader who had travelled in
the delegation to England in 1906.
1908: Úcwalmicw are prohibited from purchasing land.
1910:Upper St̓át̓imc Chiefs and Secwpmec Chiefs in the vicinity of the
Fraser River met with special Commissioner John McDougall at Pavilion,
Fountain and Bonaparte.
1910: The federal government under Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier began to take steps to allow the question of aboriginal title.
1910: Increased settlement and restrictive laws were beginning to limit St̓át̓imc movement through the land.
1911:All the people of the St̓át̓imc affirmed their united commitment
to the treaty rights movement through a declaration.
1912: The Pacific Great Eastern Railway announced that it would be building its line through the town of Lillooet.
1912:The Indian Agent at Lytton observed: In the first place it costs them
[the parents] about $10.00 to get them to a school at Mission, then
they have to give them a complete new outfit of clothes, blankets, etc.
and besides this every little while they have to send down $10.00 for
each child. Now a man [i.e., a family] that has two or three children
claims that he cannot possible (sic) afford to send them under those
1912: Lauriers Liberal government was replaced by Robert Bordens Conservatives.
1913: Construction of the railway began without Upper St̓át̓imc consent.
1913: The Pacific Great Eastern Railway was built through the middle of Lot 37.
1913:The influx of settlers which followed the railway pushed Upper
St̓át̓imc off land that they used for farming, livestock grazing and
1913: A major land slide caused by railway
construction in the Fraser Canyon near Hells Gate blocked the passage
of salmon on their annual migration to spawn up river.
1914: Upper St̓át̓imc salmon trade began to be restricted by the government.
1914:The Chief of T̓ít̓q̓et (Lillooet IR 1.), James Ngitsq̓et, told the
government commission: We have been expecting you for some time. It has
been quite a while since we were talking to you about our Treaty and we
are very glad that you have come over to see us here. All the other
Indian Chiefs are here to see [you] about the Treaty. We have been
asking for a long time that our rights be settled and that is the main
thing that we want to settle and all the other things come behind. Our
friends the whites they have been taking our lands away from us and
there is nothing left to us and everything that we use - they stop us
from using it. We think we have a right to claim our rights in this
country because we owned the country before the whites came to this
1914: Chief Peter of the Seton Lake band
spoke to the Royal Commission: The whites, they corral the fish down at
the end of the lake - the hatchery people I mean they dont allow the
sockeye to come up. When the salmon comes up to the weirs, they pound
their heads up to their eyes and they die. the salmon are not
increasing at all. Now when there was no hatchery the salmon used to
run up here on these lakes and spawn in their spawning grounds and
every year they used to be so thick that if you threw a stone across
the lake, the rock would not go down; and then I guess God made it that
way for the fish to run up on all the lakes and creeks. Down there at
the hatchery I know where the eggs were not ready to come out from the
mother and when they tried to raise the little eggs the little fish
also died Since they built the hatchery we have noticed that the fish
are getting scarcer and scarcer.
1914: Until now,
the Upper St̓át̓imc freely traded salmon to white settlers and
merchants in exchange for store bought items such as flour, tea, salt,
sugar and tobacco.
1915: Chief Thomas Adolph wrote
to the Department of Indian Affairs: Lot 37, Reserve 3 is very
valuable as agricultural land. The [Railway] cut it practically in two
pieces and consequently destroys a large portion of said Lot 37. a
large part of said Lot is lost to us by construction of the [Rail
Road]. We think it is only just that we should be paid for the land
taken the [railway company] as it seems to us that our Agent Mr. Graham
is taking very little interest in our welfare in this matter.
1916:When the P.G.E. railways right-of-way and station went through, it
destroyed the best cultivated lands on the Cayoose Creek reserve
[No.1]. Not able to trust the Indian Agent to help him, Chief Jean
Baptiste hired lawyers instead to force the government to obtain proper
compensation for his people. The issue was also brought to the direct
attention of senior government officials through an Indian Rights
Association delegation that visited Ottawa.
1917:The Lawyer for Cayoose Creek Band wrote: It is a poor reserve at the
best of times and from what I saw yesterday the Railway Company more or
less entirely destroyed it including their roads in and out.
1917:Chief Jean Baptiste wrote to the Deputy Superintendent of Indian
Affairs: One fact remains incontrovertible: - we have been robbed of
our land and have not received recompense. We get no assistance from
[Indian Agent] Mr. Graham; what help can you give us. My people all
feel that they have a grievance and are sore that no effort is being
made by the department to assist them. Surely something can be done to
help us out.
1920s: The Department of Indian Affairs had yet failed to deter cwalmicw leaders in their determination to find justice.
1920s - mid: The Department of Indian Affairs required all Upper
St̓át̓imc Chiefs to make a signed declaration of obedience to the
Indian Agent and the laws he represented.
converted Lot 37 into a reserve, subject to the terms of the Indian
Act. In previous years, band members had requested the government to
purchase the land and convert it into reserve. Yet, when the conversion
eventually took place, the owners of lot 37 were not consulted, nor
were they paid for the land in question.
1923: Adoption and implementation of the Ditchburn-Clark Agreement.
1927:The government passed a law, section 141 of the Indian Act, that banned
cwalmicw from raising funds for the purpose of pursuing land claims.
The law was not to be repealed until 1951.
a petition, the Upper St̓át̓imc of Seton Lake told the Superintendent
of Indian Affairs why they wanted a boarding school built in their
1930s: Without a legal avenue to pursue
their case, the Upper St̓át̓imc turned to the economic challenges which their communities began to face.
1950s: The authoritarian influence of the Department of Indian Affairs increased.
1960: The Úcwalmicw were allowed to vote in Canadian elections.
1969:The federal government proposed a renewed effort at assimilating the
úcwalmicw; the Upper St̓át̓imc leaders were at the forefront in protesting this attack on their
1970s - mid: The Indian Agency system was abolished and Tribal Councils were formed
as Úcwalmicw began to regain the right and powers to run their own affairs.
1980: The original colonial system was nearly abandoned and the movement to regain
self-government was gathering momentum.
1982: The Canadian constitution was amended to protect "existing aboriginal
1991: Aboriginal title was finally recognized by the Government.
Back to Top