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FNSS Curriculum Integration Project Click here to download this lesson.
Bonny-Lynn Donovan (MS-Word format.)

Grade: 4/5
Lesson 5: Contemporary Life on the Penticton Indian Reserve
Time: 4 x 40 minutes

Topic: Constructing a historic time-line to compare historical and contemporary life on the Penticton Indian Reserve.

Rationale: To make a comparison between life on the Penticton Indian Reserve from 20 years ago to life in the 21st century.

Materials and Resources

  • 'A Field Trip To The Penticton Indian Reserve' (approved SD 67 resource)
  • Timeline, Chart paper, markers
  • Digital Photos (opens in new window)

Main Concepts

  • The main industry on the Penticton Indian Reserve in the 1980s was logging.
  • Community services such as schools, Tribal Police, and Fire Fighters have been established.
  • Several businesses now operate on the Penticton Indian Reserve (both private and band-owned). For example, Sno Mountain Market, Westhills Aggregates.

Intended Learning Outcomes
It is expected the student will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of timelines.
  • Demonstrate understanding of contributions of Aboriginal people to Canadian society.
  • Identify economic and technological exchange between explorers and Aboriginal people.
  • Demonstrate understanding of Aboriginal people's relationship with the land and natural resources.
  • Gather and record a body of information from a variety of primary and secondary sources.
  • Analyze the relationship between development of communities and their available natural resources.


making things on a large scale, especially by people and machines working together.
made directly from raw resources.
made from another source.

Planned Learning Activities

  1. As a class have students begin to construct a timeline starting with 1811 and moving ahead.
  2. Highlight economic and technological change and how this impacts the Aboriginal community.
  3. Show the class the video, 'A Field Trip To The Penticton Indian Reserve'
  4. Have students create a chart, using information from the video, suggested headings - Recreation and Industry.
  5. Compare the reserve in 1981 with today (use digital photos and historical notes for Lesson 5 listed in the materials and resources).
  6. Complete the timeline.
  7. In groups have students present the history of the Penticton Indian Reserve to the class, using a variety of print, non-print, and electronic resources (p. 24 of Social Studies K to 7 IRP).

Have students use the information from the timeline to develop collages or posters showing the changes in the community.

Ask students to prepare brief summaries that include:

  • what they are trying to accomplish in their presentations
  • what they noticed about the changes in the community
  • two things they learned or realized as they worked on their representations

Note the extent to which they have accurately identified and documented changes.

Class could be organized into groups of 2 or 3. Each group chooses one aspect of the community (e.g. population, an industry, recreation) and prepares a presentation to examine it:

  • historically
  • as it is now
  • as it might be in 50 years
(p. D-13 of Appendix D, Social Studies K to 7 IRP)

Other Integration Opportunities
Language Arts - assignment could be in "report" form.

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 schoolkits 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".

Historical Notes
Since 1981, more residential houses have been built on the following Penticton Indian Reserve (PIR) subdivisions: Westhills, Sage Road, Speetlum Place, and Sandy Point Place.

People who live on the Penticton Indian Reserver continue to use the PIR community hall for special events, such as dances, dinners, fundraisers, meetings, and parties.

Okanagan First Nation people, who live on the Penticton Indian Reserve, play a variety of sports; for example, baseball, hockey, and lacrosse. They have their own baseball diamond and basketball court.

Before 1981, there was only a preschool for three and four-year olds. Now, the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) has an elementary school, high school, and college on the reserver.

Today, PIB members are artists, authors, bus drivers, convenience store clerks, custodians, gas station attendants, maintenance workers, nurses, office workers, sawmill workers, trades people, teachers, teacher assistants, and truck drivers. Other community helper are volunteer fire fighters and tribal police officers.

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 7 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 of time lines and progression (through interactionand activities) 4 3 2 1  
Student demonstrates anunderstanding of therelationship whichAboriginal people have hadto the land and how their traditional technology isclosely connectedto these natural resources 4 3 2 1  
Student can identify theeconomic and technological exchange between Aboriginal and non-nativepeople over time 4 3 2 1  
Group Presentation
Communicates in a clear,easy to understand message 4 3 2 1  
Uses information from avariety of resources 4 3 2 1  
Uses different formats of representing to share ideas (oral, written, visual) 4 3 2 1  
Provides accurate information 4 3 2 1  
Group participation and cooperation 4 3 2 1