First Nations people were the earliest settlers in the North Thompson Valley later followed by a multi-cultural mix of pioneers that were attracted to this fertile, naturally rich valley that provided everything needed to build homesteads, farms, and businesses that would provide what they needed to live while establishing a sustainable legacy for future generations. The North Thompson Valley, a place where dreams became a real way of life in such a spectacular paradise!
First Nations, Settlers, Prospectors, and Farmers harvested from the abundant forests to build, hunt wild game, fish and gather while planting their own fruitful gardens for their own use and sale as well as the establishment of large long term logging operations for export. Initial travel was on foot, via wagon, horse or river travel using rafts and even riverboats in some sections.
Nothing went to waste! Every part of an animal was put to good use whether hunting or trapping and these early people of the valley expanded their skills by sharing and trading with one another as well as an eventual efficient shipping route by train from the West Coast to the Prairies and beyond! The same was true in the use of timber and logging which provided shelter, fuel for cooking and warmth and also for export out of the area. Logging remains an essential resource in the North Thompson Valley even now although highly mechanized and regulated.
Simpcw First Nations (Salish) peoples had long travelled the valley to hunt, gather and live along the banks of the North Thompson River northward from McClure as far as Mcbride, Tete Jaune and east to Jasper. People of the North Thompson River
Since time immemorial the Simpcw occupied the lands of the North Thompson River upstream from McLure to the headwaters of the Fraser River from McBride to Tete Jeune Cache, east to Jasper and south to the headwaters of the Athabasca River. The Simpcw are a division of the Secwepemc, or Shuswap. The Simpcw speak the Secwepemc dialect, a Salishan language, shared among many of the First Nations in the Fraser and Thompson River drainage. The Simpcw traveled throughout the spring, summer and fall, gathering food and materials which sustained them through the winter. During the winter months they assembled at village sites, in the valleys close to rivers, occupying semi-underground houses. Archaeological studies have identifi ed winter home sites and underground food cache sites at a variety of locations including Finn Creek, Vavenby, Birch Island, Chu Chua, Barriere River, Louis Creek, Tete Jeune, Raush River, Jasper National Park and Robson Park.