Acknowledging Our Past recognizes that Red Mountain, near our home base town of Rossland, B.C. is also known as kmarkn by the original inhabitants, the Sinixt (aka sngaytskstx) people. The Sinixt come to kmarkn in the summer months primarily to forage on the abundant huckleberries. The area now known as Rossland might have been referred to as k'lwist ("up in the hills"), however kmarkn was the more significant place.

The Sinixt call their greater territory tmxʷúlaʔxʷ (sounds somewhat like "toom-hula") and it encompasses most of what is now known as the West Kootenays and beyond: north of Revelstoke, west to near Grand Forks, east to near Balfour and south to Kettle Falls, WA. With the advent of the Canada/US border, the majority of Sinixt were pushed to the south, into Washington state. In 1953, Annie Joseph was the sole registered member of the Sinixt Nation at Oatscott Reserve which was located near present day Needles, BC. In 1956, after Annie Joseph passed away, the Canadian government declared Sinixt people extinct. She had living relatives and descendents but due to gender discrimination in the Indian Act, the Canadian Government didn't recognize any heirs to the reserve lands.

Despite all this, Sinixt people continue to live, hunt and forage in the tmxʷúlaʔxʷ.

I, Alynn Smith, moved to kmarkn in 1997; I found no obvious presence of First People in the area. I wondered if perhaps there hadn’t been First Nations people here before settlers. Eventually I heard about the Sinixt and more recently, I have been taking time to learn what I can about the people and I hope that you will too. I have included a list of resources below and I am working with the Rossland Library to make sure the books are available there.

I believe a step toward reconciliation is to honour the Sinixt language and place names. I am doing what I can to bring forth the first names of our beautiful land, so others will be aware of what I was not, when I first moved here.


In The Stream: An Indian Story Nancy Perkins Wynecoop, N. Wynecoop Clark  (Free E-book):

Kootenay Co-op Radio Sinixt Stories (podcast series):

Not Extinct: Keeping the Sinixt Way by Marilyn James and Taress Alexis
available at the Rossland Museum, the Trail & District Library and Rossland Library

Coyote Stories by Mourning Dove
available at the Rossland Library

Keeping the Lakes Way by Paula Pryce
available at the Rossland Library and Trail & District Library

Geography of Memory by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes
available at the Rossland Library

A River Captured - Eileen Delehanty Pearkes
available at the Rossland Library

Twist in Coyote’s Tale Celia Gunn
available at the Trail & District Library

Lakes Indians: Ethnography and History by Randy Bouchard and Dorothy Kennedy
available at the Rossland Library

Indigenous Canada, University of Alberta

Truth and Reconciliation Report
available at the Rossland Library or online here

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
available online here