Okanagan Mainline Regional Network Logo
Aboriginal Education
    Project Rationale
    Resource Directory
    Teacher Preparation and Sensitivity
    Lesson Outlines
    UCC Student Projects
Curriculum Resources
Professional Development
Contact Us
FNSS Curriculum Integration Project Click here to download this lesson.
Bonny-Lynn Donovan (MS-Word format.)

Grade: 2/3
Lesson 3: The Historical Development of the Penticton Indian Reserve -- Contact
Time: 2 x 40 minutes or 1 x 80 minutes

Topic: Historical Development of the Penticton First Nation after contact with newcomers.

Rationale: To gain an understanding of how the fur trade and European settlement impacted the Okanagan First Nationculture and influenced the development of the Penticton Indian Reserve

Materials and Resources:

  • Local Pioneer History Kit, Penticton Museum
  • 'How Can I Keep On Singing?' video
  • See - Historical Notes

Main concepts:

  • Fur traders and settlers introduced the Okanagan First Nation people to new technology
  • There were economic and technological exchanges between fur traders/settlers and Okanagan First Nation people

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe the historical development of various BC communities
  • Describe the development of various BC communities in relation to their location and availability of resources


The use of science for practical purposes, especially in engineering and industry.
A rugged range of mountains along the border of British Columbia and Alberta.
Fit or safe to eat.
Any resource for attack or defense.
Industrial Products
Products resulting from industrial processes.
The First Nations people of the Interior or Plateau of British Columbia.
Plains Tribes
The Aboriginal people of the Plains of North America.
Act of adapting; the result of adapting; a change in structure, form or habits of an animal or plant to fit different conditionsl.

Planned Learning Activities:

  1. Have students read the notes for Lesson 3 in pairs and then as a class.
  2. Look at examples of the different technology introduced by the pioneers to the Okanagan First Nation people (use items from Penticton Museum's 'Local Pioneer History Kit', e.g. clothespin, iron, wrench).
  3. Show students segments of the video 'How Can I Keep On Singing?' (after vignette 3, 'Lights in the Firmament' to vignette 5 'Wind Woman' and then vignette 9 This New Life). Vignette 9 is an excellent example of the exchange of goods that took place between the pioneers/settlers and the Okanagan First Nation people.
  4. Have students identify how the exchange of resources between the pioneers/settlers and the Okanagan First Nation people took place.
  5. Focus on "exchange of ideas" and "adaptation" within technology. Have students in a group of three pick a pre-contact tool (artifact) and describe to the class what they know about the original tool, then, how it has been adapted to present day. Describe changes of material and technology.


  • Look for evidence of students' abilities to identify how technology affects people (p. 29 of Social Studies K to 7 IRP)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how technology has changed over time
  • Identify how technology affects people
  • Make logical comparisons

Refer to the Suggested Project list from the Penticton Museum's Local Pioneer History Kit.

See timeline . . . pick out relevant events which pertain to technology, i.e. introduction of metal objects. Do a sequence activity, i.e. technology before contact, implements, implement adaptation (could be done as a role play exercise).

Other Integration Opportunities:
Have students practice 4 digit subtraction with re-grouping, to determine the number of years between the current year and important historical dates in the development of the Penticton Indian Reserve.

Use the legend 'Wind Woman' from the video, 'How Can I Keep On Singing?' in a Language Arts or Fine Arts activity.

Resources Used and Supplementary Materials Available:

  1. Ellis, Kathleen. 1950. Tom and Mina Ellis: Notes on their lives by Kathleen W. Ellis. Okanagan Historical Society.
  2. Okanagan Nation Alliance. 1998. Okanagan Nation Territory Map. www.syilx.org
  3. Thomson, Duane. 1996. The Response of Okanagan Indians to European Settlement. royal.okanagan.bc.ca
  4. Union of BC Indian Chiefs. 1913 map of Penticton Indian Reserve from unpublished paper entitled, Cut-Off: The Story of Penticton Indian Lands.
  5. Webber, J. 1990. Okanagan Sources. Penticton: Theytus Books.
  6. Armstrong, J. C. 1991. Neekna and Chemai. Penticton: Theytus Books. ISBN 0-919441-15-7
  7. 'How Food Was Given' from Kou-Skelowh/We Are the People: A Trilogy of OkanaganLegends. 1991. Penticton: Theytus Books. ISBN 0-919441-81-5

Both school kits are designed for teachers to use in their classrooms. They contain touchable museum artifacts with corresponding information, photographs, maps, newspapers, books, suggested projects, and teaching guides. They are available for one to two week loan-out periods. To book, call the Museum at 490-2451. Kits are available to teachers outside School District 67.

The museum will courier the kits to the borrower; however, it is the responsibility of the individual teacher to cover all costs of shipping, including insurance.

  1. First Nations Archeology Kit. Penticton Museum & Archives.
    Contains a variety of Okanagan First Nation artifacts: arrowheads, scapers, and bitterroot.
  2. Local Pioneer History Kit
    Contains an assortment of pioneer-related artifacts: iron, buttonhook, and slate.


  1. 'A Field Trip to the Penticton Indian Reserve'. 1981. Instructional Material Centre, School District 67. IC'004, Barcode 9988. 30 minutes.
  2. 'How Can I Keep On Singing?' 2001. Moving Images Video Project. 2408 E. Valley Street Seattle WA 98112 (206) 323-9461. www.movingimages.org
  3. 'Settling The Okanagan'. 1999. Straight Arrow Productions. Contact: Tracey Jack, c/o En'Owkin Centre. R.R. #2 Site 50, Comp. 08 Penticton, BC V2A 6J7. Phone (250) 493-7181, fax (250) 493-5302. Cost : $35.00


  1. The story of Wind Woman, as told by Jeannette C. Armstrong in the video, 'How Can I Keep On Singing?' "How the woman of the wind, banished by coyote, carried her eternally howling child tied to her back, as they moved forever through the treetops. Mother crooning to the child. How sometimes she would swoop down in anger, scattering berries off bushes".

Suggested Projects (Courtesy of the Penticton Museum's Kit entitled: PIONEER SCHOOL KIT

  1. Pick one of the artifacts from the kit and present it to the class. Give a demonstration on how it was used, who used it, etc.
  2. Look through the copy of the Penticton Press and find something that you find interesting. Build a story around it by using the traveling library.
  3. Find an article in the current Penticton Herald. Pretend you are a historian 100 years in the future and present it to your class.
  4. Talk or write a report on the First nations of Penticton both today and in the past.
  5. Go to the Penticton Museum and tell your class about it (or write a report).
  6. Pretend you are a member of the Hudson's Bay Fur Brigade - keep a diary about your life on the road. You'll have to use the traveling library.
  7. Design a poster advertising a recreational activity in Penticton during pioneer times.
  8. Create a poem or story about early Penticton life.
  9. Select two of the people listed below. Write a half page report describing his or her job and contribution to early Penticton.
    • Captain of a sternwheeler
    • Manager of the Incola Hotel
    • Stagecoach driver
    • General Store Manager
    • Druggist
    • Orchardist
    • Cattle Rancher
    • Homeworker
    • Dray and Express Operator
    • Butcher
    • Teacher
    • Police Constable
  10. Imagine you are a newspaper reporter going to interview a person who lived in Penticton in 1908. Write seven questions you would ask in an interview.
  11. Pretend you belong with a land investment company. Create a poster for Penticton 1900, "the place to stay forever".
  12. Pick a pioneer and write a short history of him/her.
  13. Pretend you are one of the students of the first Penticton school. Write about your first day.
  14. You have a summer job as a tour guide in Penticton. Outline the route your bus will travel and list the feature sights.
  15. Imagine yourself a reporter for the Penticton Herald assigned by the editor to write a feature for the paper on the future of Penticton with the arrival tomorrow of the first train into Penticton on the newly laid Kettle Valley Railroad tracks. In your article, be sure to include the boom the construction of the railroad created, the Incola Hotel, the S.S. Sicamous, and Penticton as the big city of the South Okanagan.
  16. Design a poster advertising the new Incola Hotel to attract visitors and guests to Penticton.
  17. Referring to a photo or reference book, illustrate a steam locomotive similar to one which would have been used by the Kettle Valley Railroad (or) illustrate the sternwheeler, Sicamous or Okanagan.
  18. As a class project create your own "Herald". Each student contributes an article or advertisement based on their knowledge of pioneer Penticton.

Okanagan First Nation Historical Notes
Historians believe that one of the reasons the Okanagan First Nation people were willing participants in the fur trade was because they needed to obtain technology from the fur traders (rifles and ammunition). They needed to protect themselves against plains tribe who began to war with tribes of the Rockies and BC's Interior, to increase their territories. (Webber, 1990)

One result of contact with fur traders was that Okanagan First Nation people came to rely on industrial products such as rifles, ammunition, aces, iron-headed arrows, steel traps, European clothing, and medicine.

In exchange, Okanagan First Nation people helped the fur traders survive because they had extensive knowledge of edible plants and were skilled hunters and fishermen.

Because fur-bearing animals are not plentiful in the Okanagan region, Okanaga First Nation people had to find alternate ways to obtain goods from the fur traders, without having to trap. They did this by supplying the fur traders with horses, saddles, packsaddles, ropes, bridles, and lariats. Okanagan First Nation people also worked for the fur traders as guides, wranglers, and packers.

The furt traders needed to be on friendly terms with the Okanagan First Nation people because they had strong relationships with other Interior Salish speaking peoples and the Hudson Bay Company's pack-horse brigade ran through Okanagan First Nation Territory. (Thomson, 1996)

Timeline of Significant Events
(to be used with Lesson 3, 4, and 5)


  • Fur traders came to the Okanagan Valley.
  • Fort Okanagan was established in Washington, the first permanent contact Okanagan First Nation people would have with non-native fur traders.

1813 - 1821

  • Fort Kamloops, Fort Okanagan, and Spokane House (operated by the North West Company) were the principal fur trading posts used by the Okanagan First Nation.

1832, 1836, 1857

  • Outbreaks of the smallpox in the Okanagan Valley.
  • Contagious diseases had the most impact on First Nation populations.
  • Epidemics decimated whole villages.


  • The Governor of BC, Sir James Douglas, made agreements with Okanagan village chiefs that they could have reserves of land of any size and location they wanted. This also included hunting and fishing territory, as well as grazing areas and access to water. The original Penticton Indian Reserve (PIR) included everything between Skaha and Okanagan Lake and both sides of the valley.


  • Residential schools were established by Oblate missionaries for Secwepemc (Shuswap) and Okanagan children.
  • Also the year that the Penticton Indian Reserve (PIR) was reduced in size by the local Justice of the Peace, Mr. J.C. Haynes, who thought the original PIR was too large.


  • Thomas Ellis planted the first orchard. All ranch help were Okanagan First Nation people. T. Ellis' daughter, Kathleen Ellis, said that, "Work both indoors and [outdoors] could not have been carried on without their help". (p.105 Okan. Hist. Society, 1950)
  • Indoors: Okanagan First Nation women and girls learned to cook on iron stoves, launder, make soap, sew with steel needles and sewing machines.
  • Outdoors: Okanagan men rode range, cut hay in the summer, and clear land. They learned to plow, use an axe and saw, and how to build log cabins.
  • During the early development of Penticton, Okanagan First Nation people supplied horses for delivery work and orchard cultivation. They also supplied cordwood, so settlers could heat their homes and Okanagan First Nation women made work gloves out of buckskin.


  • The Indian Reserve Commission was established to enlarge reserves.

Nov. 24, 1877

  • Penticton Indian Reserve No. 1 allotted by the Joint Reserve Commission.


  • First Nation people could not buy land off the reserve.


  • A permanent mission was established on the Penticton Indian Reserve (PIR) by Father Pandosy, an Oblate priest.


  • Members of the Penticton Indian Reserve (PIR) began living in log houses, rather than the traditional pit houses.


  • The McKenna-McBride Royal Commission was set up to settle a dispute between the Federal and Provincial governments. Both governments claimed they 'owned' reserve land. The provincial government protested the amount of land that was set aside as reserves.


  • As a result of the provincial government protests, The Penticton Indian Reserve No. 1 was reduced by 14, 060 acres and two smaller reserves, No. 2 and 2A were taken away altogether. Some of the land taken consisted of hay fields, gardens, orchards, valuable grazing land, and timberland.


  • Members of the Penticton Indian Reserve were farmers and grew fruit. They continued to fish and hunt. Some worked on building roads, while others were cowboys and worked for ranchers.


  • Kettle Valley Railroad (KVR) tracks run through the Penticton Indian Reserve.


  • An 'Indian Day School' established on the Penticton Indian Reserve for primary students. Older students continued to attend residential schools in Kamloops and Cranbrook BC.


  • Federal Government of Canada established an airport on the Penticton Indian Reserve which the government expands in 1949 (takes more PIR land).

1945 - 1960

  • Okanagan First Nation people migrated seasonally to Washington, to work in the orchards.


  • In May, PIR community hall opened.


  • Okanagan First Nation children stopped attending residential schools.
  • Sunshine Preschool established.


  • Houses built on Westhills Drive.


  • Gun club renovated and turned into Penticton Indian Band Administration Office.


  • Penticton Indian Band (PIB) Volunteer Firefighter Program is established. Firefighters receive a pumper truck and fire hall.


  • Outma Squil'xw Cultural School is established. It is a band-operated school for First Nation students living on reserve. Grades Pre-K to Grade 5.
  • Penticton Indian Band (PIB) Tribal Police established.
  • Band-owned company Westhills Aggregate Limited is created. Westhills Aggregates Ltd. sells gravel, landscaping rocks, and topsoil.


  • Penticton Indian Band Education Centre established. The Pia'sulaxw Centre offers a high school program for grades 8 to 12, upgrading for adults, and computer literacy courses.


  • The En'Owkin Centre (est. 1981) moves onto the Penticton Indian Reserve. The En'Owkin offers adult college courses in Adult Basic Education, Okanagan Language Training, Creative Writing, and Fine Arts. It also houses Canada's original First Nations Publishing Company -- Theytus Books.

Summative Criteria

Criteria Ratings Comments
Student demonstrates an understanding ofwho the original inhabitants of the Okanagan Valley were.(Through interaction andactivities) 4 3 2 1  
Examples, ideas, anddetail were demonstratedthrough the contrast/comparison of past and present technology indicating a deeper understanding of the topic. 4 3 2 1  
Useful, accurate andrelevant informationis included in thegroup work pertaining to food 4 3 2 1  
Technology 4 3 2 1  
People interacting with environment 4 3 2 1  
Community Involvement 4 3 2 1  
Group participation and cooperation 4 3 2 1