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History

Overview of History of the Sto:lo After Contact

Indian reserves are the remnants of "Our Land" they are the bits and pieces of our sovereignty, of our culture that have survived. They are monuments of our victory against extinction. They are symbols of continuing struggle against our oppression by the Europeans. Today an Indian reserve is a jail. Tomorrow it should be the basis of independence.

 

1778

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Captain James Cook lands at Nootka Sound

1782

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Smallpox epidemic kills 2/3 of population in 2 months

1848

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Measles and dysentery

  • Starving miners are fed by the Sto:lo people are called Xwelitem (meaning "hungry ones") this  term is still used today
  • Alcohol is introduced

1859

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The policy of assimilation is introduced

1863

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St Mary's Roman Catholic Boarding School in Mission built and

  • Native Children are taken from their parents and forced to attend
  • Large influx of British Settlers

1876

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The Indian Act is established

1879

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Dysentery, syphilis

1881

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Lung disease, measles, scarlet fever

1882

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Consumption

1884

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Potlatch outlawed

1886

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Coqualeetza Mission Home opened in Chilliwack

1886

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Bronchitis and consumption

1890

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Missionaries burn house poles, ceremonial masks and regalia

  • Influenza (each family lost at least one member)

1891

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Sto:lo population counted at 4,338

  • non-aboriginals now outnumber aboriginals

1893

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Coqualeetza Industrial Institute residential school opens

1895

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DIA (The Department of Indian Affairs) says that there are no serious contagious diseases, but a good deal of grippe (influenza), pneumonia and consumption (tuberculosis)

1896

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Smallpox epidemic from 1869 through 1896. Estimated 98% death rate

1899

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Measles

1921

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Sto:lo population counted at 1,200 (lowest)

1930

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Father John, from St. Mary’s, states “as long as I am principle of St. Mary’s, no Indian will go to high school”

1935

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Coqualeetza Tuberculosis Preventorium is built

1940

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 Coqualeetza Residential School closes

1941

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Coqualeetza Indian Hospital opens

1951

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The Indian Act is amended

  • Allows Aboriginals to retain Indian Status and be Canadian Citizens at the same time
  • Repeals the anti-potlatch law (had been in effect for 67 years)
  • Allows that when no Federal law exists the Provincial law applies. Since there is no Federal child protection laws,  BC has the responsibility for BC’s Aboriginal children 
  • 29 are in care in BC

1961

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Aboriginal people on-reserve are allowed to vote in Federal elections

1960's

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Residential Schools start to phase out

  • “The 60’s Scoop”. The apprehension of Aboriginal children by the province. By 1964 there were 1,466 Aboriginal children in care in BC (over 50 times as many in 13 years)
  • Adopt an Indian or Métis (AIM) child program in place. Between 1960 and 1990 11,132 status Indian children were adopted out by the province
  • 70% to non-native families, many to other provinces and some to some other country

1969

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Federal Government proposes that status be removed, as assimilation is believed to be complete.

1984

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The last residential school closes in Mission, BC. had been in place for 120 years. The youngest child taken was 2 years old and stayed until she was 18 years old.

Residential experiences include:

  • Separation and loss
  • Taken from parents and community
  • Separated at school by gender and age, did not grow up with siblings
  • Cannot speak own language (tongues were pierced with a needle if spoken their own languages
  • Cannot practice own traditional culture: food, clothing, stories, songs and dances
  • If a family member died while the child was in school the child could not attend the funeral. If the child died while in school, the body was not sent back to the parents and community. 100,000 children died in Residential School
  • Neglect
  • Not much food,and what food was served was poor in nutrition
  • Cold in the winter
  • No affection and no positive attention
  • Poor medical attention
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Called names (bullying)
  • Belittled personally, culturally. and spiritually
  • Witnessed violence
  • Sexual abuse

1990

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The Ministry of Social Services appoints a panel to review child welfare in BC. The panel recognizes the unique history that Aboriginal people had with the province in regard to child welfare

1993

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Xyolhemeylh was created and assumes responsibility for administering child and welfare programs for Sto:lo families and children

1995

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The Child, Family and Community Services Act placed emphasis on community and family involvement and the preservation of Aboriginal culture