Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lillooet, British Columbia. A Jewel of a find!

The Upper St’át’imc are the original inhabitants of the territory which extends west of the Fraser River from the mouth of Pavilion Creek (Sk’elpáqs), down to Texas Creek into the mountains above the Bridge River and west through the valleys of the Seton and Anderson Lakes toward Duffey Lake. To the east of the Fraser, the Upper St’át’imc territory includes the Three Lake Valley and the adjacent mountains extending toward Hat Creek. For countless generations, the Upper St’át’imc have lived in close harmony with the Lower St’át’imc to the south. Both speaking the St’át’imc language, the two peoples have always maintained deep bonds through marriage, political allegiance and trade. Today the Upper and Lower St’át’imc are considered one Nation.
The Upper St’át’imc were settled in several main villages located on bench lands above the Fraser River and on the sand benches of Seton and Anderson Lakes. It is believed that the word "St’át’imc" originated from the ancient village of T’at’lh on Keatley Creek. In traditional times, principal settlements existed at Sk’ámqain at the foot of Seton Lake, Sat’ at the present town site of Lillooet, Nxwísten at the mouth of Bridge River, Cáclep (Fountain), Slha7äs and Tsal’álh on Seton Lake and Nk’wátkwa at the west end of Anderson Lake. Aside from these villages, there existed smaller settlements throughout the territory. Pavilion (Tsk’wáylacw), a predominantly Secwápmec-speaking community in the nineteenth century, through intermarriage gradually became a St’át’imc-speaking village by the early twentieth century.