animated man
NATURE
· Rich Wetlands in the Creston Valley
FIRST PEOPLES
· Yaqan Nukiy, People of the Water
HISTORY
· Too Much Water
This is a link to a map of the waters of British Columbia with optional close-ups of the Southeastern Valleys and Vancouver Island's West Coast.

FOCUS  Southeastern Valleys -- Fresh Waters

Yaqan Nukiy, People of the Water
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This is a black and white photograph of a Ktunaxa canoe with paddler on the Kootenay River.
Ktunaxa canoe on the Kootenay River ca. 1925. RBCM PN 1925.
It is no surprise that the Yaqan Nukiy settled where the Kootenay River flows into the south end of Kootenay Lake. Here are spectacular views of the Creston Valley and a vast wetland with many streams and tributaries flowing into the slow moving river. Prior to European settlement the Kootenay River overflowed its banks every spring, depositing rich silt over the valley floor and replenishing the wetlands. Since the late 1800's there has been a significant loss of wetland habitat because of the dyking of the Kootenay River floodplain for agriculture and then the construction of the Libby Dam in Montana, leading to decline and loss of important traditional plant species. The Lower Kootenay Band plans to inventory culturally significant plant communities and provide recommendations for a recovery plan.
People travelled through the wetlands using the famous flat-bottomed Ktunaxa canoe (yaksumit ) which has pointed ends that resemble a sturgeon's nose. These canoes were made from natural materials found within the Creston Valley: Western White Pine bark, birch bark, cedar wood and roots, maple sap and pitch from coniferous trees. Elders who still possess the skills and knowledge of crafting and building the yaksumit  use canvas now instead of bark to cover the canoe frame.
Ktunaxa model canoe of birch bark and wood. RBCM 12758 a-c.
This is a photograph of a model of a Ktunaxa canoe made of birch bark and wood.
The traditional Ktunaxa dwelling was the teepee: a four pole structure about 3 to 3.5 metres high, depending on family size, covered with tule (bulrush) matting. The winter teepee had a permanent framework and a weatherproof covering; the summer shelter was a simple framework of light poles and mats or skins which could be easily dismantled and packed, ready to move on a moment's notice. Other dwelling structures included lean-tos and round huts. Sweat lodges were used for purification, prayer, and mental, physical and spiritual healing. Many people still use the sweat lodge.
Family in front of a teepee near Creston. The image is from a post card. RBCM PN 3719.
This is a black and white photograph of a family, two adults, four children, in front of a teepee near Creston.
A Ktunaxa encampment. RBCM PN 22954.
This is a black and white photograph of teepees at a Ktunaxa encampment.
Mat-covered summer teepee. RBCM PN 3645.
This is a black and white photograph of a mat-covered summer teepee.
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