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Astride two worlds

As the Minaberriet descendants were growing up in BC, pervasive racism and the threat of Residential Schools discouraged many people from embracing their Indigenous heritage. During the pre-World War II decades, it was sometimes deemed safer to “pass” as non-Indigenous.

The Bar-X Rangers

Four musicians performing outdoors during winter

The Bar-X Rangers in Spences Bridge, circa 1937. From left, the siblings are Jim, Mary, Joe (on saxophone), and Peter Minnabarriet


Antoine Minaberriet’s Indigenous grandchildren created their own European-style band, The Bar-X Rangers.  This group was much sought-after and performed throughout the region.

Going to war

Four men in military uniform standing before building

Minnabarriet men who served in the Second World War. From left: Peter Minnabarriet, his brother-in-law Leslie Gaspard, and his brothers James and Joe Minnabarriet, 1945

Many Indigenous youth chose to serve in the Armed Forces during wartime, including three of Louis Joseph Antoine Globe Minaberriet’s sons. During the Second World War, Peter served with the British Columbia Dragoons in England, France, Holland and Germany. James, Joe and Leslie served with the Rocky Mountain Rangers.


Cowboy on horseback roping a calf

Roping champion Joseph Antoine “Percy” Minnabarriet competes at the Pacific National Exhibition rodeo in Vancouver, 1960

“Percy” Minnabarriet

“Percy” Minnabarriet, Antoine’s great-grandson, was a champion calf-roper and All Around Cowboy. In 1979, Pro Rodeo Canada honoured his 25-year career as a professional rodeo cowboy. He later became Chief of the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, a Nlaka’pamux First Nations government.

Verna Minnabarriet

In 1975, Verna Minnabarriet, daughter of Marie Pierro and Joseph Antoine Minnaberriet, was named Miss Ashcroft and was also crowned “B.C. Indian Princess”. These contests were important community events.  Dr. Verna Billy-Minnabarriet (EdD) is now an educational leader and researcher who has committed her life to educational development for First Nations communities.

Clipping of young women at beauty contest

Verna Minnabarriet, named ”B.C. Indian Princess” in 1975