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Legends and Lore of the South Similkameen
South Similkameen Museum
Keremeos , British Columbia


   The natives of the
Similkameen Valley, who
travelled in and through what
is now known as British
Columbia and Washington
State, have a history
spanning thousands of years.
Originally nomadic, they
moved by foot, horse and
canoe according to seasons

and food availability.
Skilled hunters and fishers,
they camped along waterways
such as the Similkameen and
Ashnola in Canada and Palmer
Lake in Washington State.
   Similkameen medicine men
provided healing in sweat
lodges. The tribes also held
gift-giving potlatch

festivals and enjoyed
ceremonial dancing for
entertainment, wearing
clothing made of buckskin,
fur and hemp and headdresses
made of eagle feathers.
   The arrival of the Hudson
Bay Company and other
newcomers in the late 1800s
changed their way of life.

After missionaries converted
many Similkameen to
Catholicism, they built their
own churches and began
trading furs for blankets,
rifles and other goods. With
the advent of reserves in the
late 1800s, they turned to
cattle ranching and farming.
In later years they attended

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