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Virtually unknown of First Nations in Canada, the Arrow Lakes or Sinixt Interior Salish of the North American Columbia Plateau have been declared officially extinct. This book investigates why this circumstance came about and how contemporary Sinixt have responded.
Most of the Arrow Lakes people have lived in diaspora for a hundred years or more, due in part to destructive mining activity in their historical territory. Since 1989, many have made pilgrimages to an ancient burial ground and village site at Vallican, British Columbia, where they have worked against many obstacles to protect ancestral remains exhumed by archaeologists and road-builders. Paula Pryce explores this history, showing how time is culturally imbedded in the land. Social memory, time perspectives, sense of place, and the act of reburial have enhanced cultural continuity, meaning, and identity among the Lakes people.
While telling a troubling story of dispossession and diaspora, grave sites and reburials, this powerful narrative also looks at the complex process of the construction and re-construction of identity in a world of constantly shifting boundaries. It is the first book devoted to the story of the Sinixt.