SNARE SECWÉPEMC

SNAKE

 

Snare Secwépemc Territory: McBride area of British Columbia and Jasper National Park in Alberta.

 

Portals
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Aseniwuche Winewak Nation : part of whose membership is Snare Secwépemc
Grand Cache, Alberta

 

Canim Lake / Tsq'escenemc Band : part of whose membership is Snare Secwépemc
100 Mile House, British Columbia

 

Simpcw First Nation : part of whose membership is Snare Secwépemc
Barriere, British Columbia

#59

 

Snare Secwépemc Population
Canada (2015) - 110

S A L I S H INTERIOR

 

COMMENTS

 

The Snare Secwépemc were the original inhabitants of this region. With coming of the fur trade era, Mohawk Iroquois moved in to hunt. Northwest Company's (later H.B.C.) Jasper House and Kootenay Plains seasonal rendezvous were established to enable business. Cree, Ktunaxa, Metis, Tse Keh Nay, and Stoney followed the Mohawk Iroquois to participate in the commercial hunt. In time, all these groups (including the Snare Secwépemc) merged and adopted Cree culture thence becoming the foundation for the new Rocky Mountain People or Asseniwuche Winewak Nation. Simultaneously, with overhunting leading to food shortages, many Snare Secwépemc fled south to live amongst their more prosperous relations, the Secwépemc of British Columbia.

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According to one of the last known members of the Snare Secwépemc tribe, they were neither Secwépemc, Dakelh, or Tse K'hene, but more closely related to the Secwépemc than to any other group, and speaking a language akin to Secwépemc. (Joachim Fromhold P.433)

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The Snare Secwépemc maintained little contact with other Secwépemc groups. (Rootsweb)

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The first European to encounter the Snare Secwépemc was Alexander McKenzie in 1793 as he was making his trek to the Pacific Ocean. Aaron Arrowsmith's 1814 map, showing the Snare Secwépemc, is based on information gathered by McKenzie. (Note: "Atnah" is what the Dakelh called the Secwépemc.)

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This 1906 Government Atlas of Canada map shows "Iroquois" territory. ie. which lands were taken over from the Snare Secwépemc by the Iroquois. The Mohawk were able to move right on into Snare Secwépemc Territory because they had guns. The Snare Secwépemc did not. Also, at that time in the early 1800's, the numbers of Snare Secwépemc may have been severely weakened by the smallpox epidemic of 1781 making them less able to resist the Mohawk. Certainly, tribes in the vicinity such as the Athapuscow Cree, Keskachewan Cree, and Sinixt had lost huge percentages of their populations. [Note: Early 18th Century Snare Secwépemc population must have considerably greater for the them to develop their own dialect, identity, and to hold on to a significant sized territory in the face of hostile neighbours.]

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Snare Secwépemc 1820 Population: 300 persons (2/3's of the them were in the larger Valemount region.) (Joachim Fromhold P.437)

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Paul Kane's second hand description of the 1840 massacre of the Snare Secwépemc by the Stoney. (Wanderings of An Artist P. 155)

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After the massacre, Capote Blanc and some Snare Secwépemc People flee to British Columbia. (Joachim Fromhold)

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The Asseniwuche Winewak Nation, including it's Snare Secwépemc Tribe component, were evicted from Jasper are when Jasper National Park was formed in 1906. They now reside at Grande Cache to the north.

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The Asseniwuche Winewak Nation verifies it's Secwépemc heritage and that the Snare Secwépemc were the first inhabitants of the area and that the Snare Secwépemc vacated the area in mid 19th Century due to food shortages and influx of Cree and Stoney.

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Here is the Simpcw Band's perspective on the Snare Secwépemc: "The SIMPCW are a division of the Secwépemc, or Shuswap, whose traditional territory encompasses approximately 5,000,000 Ha in the North Thompson region. The area extends from slightly North of McLure to the headwaters of Fraser River near McBride, to Tête Jeune Cache, over to Jasper and south to the headwaters of the Athabasca River. Archaeological studies have identified winter home sites and underground food cache sites at a variety of locations including Finn Creek, Vavenby, Birch Island, Clearwater, Litte Fort, Chu Chua, Barriere River, Louis Creek, and Tête Jeune, and Jasper. Many ancestors of present band members lived in these winter villages or camps. Evidence of life in earlier times can still be found at these ancestral village sites." [It is important to remember that the Simpcw Band received Snare Secwépemc refugees in the 1840's and is legitimately speaking for that component of it's population. Note: Were an 18th Century hunter to travel from Simpcw Band's core region at Barriere, B.C. to the easternmost frontier of Secwépemc Territory in Alberta's David Thompson Country via the Yellowhead Pass and then back again, it would entail an 1100 kilometer walk.]

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An elder in the Stoney Wesley Band in the South Saskatchewan River valley, states the Snare were a travelling people who followed the rivers and used nets to catch both fish and animals. The Snare people were of short stature, ie. 4 foot 6 inches. The Stoney called them "Tamongun" or "Snaring People".

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James Hector writes: The Snare, a tribe who lived near the Snaring River, dwelling in holes dug in the ground, and living on animals they captured with snares of green hides.

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Father Pierre-Jean de Smet: He believes they originated in British Columbia and migrated east to Jasper in search of food. They were regarded as a feeble tribe.

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A Jasper Town Museum staff member remarked the facial features of the Snare were "fine boned"...
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A Canim Lake elder indicates that when the Snare fled southward into Secwepemc Territory in the early 1800's, the bulk of the them moved beyond the Simpcw Band in the North Thompson Valley to reside amongst the Canim Lake Band in the south Cariboo region.

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While you are still fretting about whether the Snare Secwepemc actually existed, why is it they are on all of the old maps while the Mountain Stoney are on absolutely none of the old maps?