Tsilhqot'in


TSILHQOT'IN  () (Chilcotin) people inhabit the CHILCOTIN PLATEAU stretching from the FRASER R to the COAST MTS in west-central BC. The Chilcotin Highway (Hwy 20) (see ROADS AND HWYS) snakes through the middle of their territory, which is drained by the Chilcotin, HOMATHKO, DEAN and Klinaklini rivers. Traditionally the people lived in small groups, moving seasonally to favourite hunting and FISHING spots. In 1808 Simon FRASER introduced the FUR TRADE to the area and the HBC operated FORT CHILCOTIN from 1829 to 1844, though the Tsilhqot'in did not participate in the trade to the same degree that many other FIRST NATIONS did. With the GOLD RUSH, a pack TRAIL opened across Tsilhqot'in territory and contact with outsiders increased. In 1864, unfriendly relations between aboriginals and whites flared into the so-called CHILCOTIN WAR. Following this episode some of the Tsilhqot'in were moved to RESERVES; other reserves were allotted between 1887 and 1904. With the growth of ranching (see CATTLE INDUSTRY) after 1880, many Tsilhqot'in became COWBOYS and ranch hands and engaged in haymaking, and some raised small herds of cattle themselves, all of which they combined with traditional subsistence activities. More recently the Tsilhqot'in have faced a dwindling resource base with which to maintain their traditional way of life. In the late 1980s they were particularly concerned by the activities of LOGGING companies in their territory; their response contributed to the creation in 1995 of Ts'yl-os Provincial PARK around CHILKO and Taseko Lks. There are about 2,800 Tsilhqot'in distributed in 6 nations: Alexandria, Anaham, Stone, ALEXIS CREEK and NEMIAH VALLEY, represented by the Tsilhqot'in National Government; and Toosey, represented by the Carrier-Chilcotin Tribal Council. Both are located in WILLIAMS LAKE.