The Geography of Memory

Reclaiming the Cultural, Natural and Spiritual History of the Snayackstx (Sinixt) First People

ISBN 9781771605212
Softcover | Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Book Dimensions: 6 in. x 9 in.
288 Pages

About the Book

A provocative, historical investigation into the displacement of the Snayackstx (Sinixt) First People of British Columbia’s West Kootenays.

This compact book records a quest for understanding, to find the story behind the Snayackstx (Sinixt) First Nation. Known in the United States as the Arrow Lakes Indians of the Colville Confederated Tribes, the tribe lived along the upper Columbia River and its tributaries for thousands of years. In a story unique to First Nations in Canada, the Canadian federal government declared them “extinct” in 1956, eliminating with the stroke of a pen this tribe’s ability to legally access 80 per cent of their trans-boundary traditional territory.

Part travelogue, part cultural history, the book details the culture, place names, practices, and landscape features of this lost tribe of British Columbia, through a contemporary lens that presents all readers with an opportunity to participate in reconciliation.

About the Author(s)

Eileen Delehanty Pearkes is a writer who explores landscape and the human imagination, with a focus on the history of the upper Columbia River and its tributaries. Born in the United States, educated at Stanford University (B.A., English) and the University of British Columbia (M.A., English), Eileen has been a resident of Canada since 1985. She writes two popular columns on Canadian landscape history for North Columbia Monthly and the online news site The Nelson Daily. Because of her personal experiences, education, and academic interests, Eileen’s perspective on landscape, water, and culture is uniquely binational. In 2014 she curated an extensive exhibit on the history of the Upper Columbia River system in Canada for the Touchstones Nelson museum and the Columbia Basin Trust, with specific reference to dramatic ecological changes both before and after the Columbia River Treaty (1961–64), as well as a history of the government policy that shaped this international water treaty. The exhibition won an award of excellence from the Canadian Museum Association. She lives in Nelson, British Columbia.