From the durable lean-to shelters, to their beautiful traditional dress, discovering the Shuswap First Nation culture was an interesting highlight of our Provincial Fair. We visited the Hat Creek ranch on our second day, which was where we saw the First Nation area. Between the crafts, sports, and the overall tour, everybody enjoyed our visit to the Shuswap area very much.
In the beginning, no one knew what to expect of the tour, but as time slipped by, it became apparent that this would certainly not be a boring tour. The ground was left untouched by cement and cars, our amazing tour guides wore traditional clothing, and everything was designed perfectly to immerse us all in an environment before modern development.
The Shuswap peoples’ resourcefulness was a surprise to many of us. For instance, they used all parts of the plants. Cattail stalk was used for shelters, and then the other parts were reserved for every other purpose imaginable: it was edible, and even usable for fire fuel or diapers. In the rain, cattail expands to seal shelters and in the heat, it would dry up and contract to let in the breeze while still providing shade. Their usage of nature was a stark contrast to today’s culture of buy one thing, use it for one thing, then chuck it in the garbage can and forget it ever existed. It made us all much more aware of how much stuff we really had, and even how wasteful many people have become.
As our trip to Hat Creek drew to a close with a fun group game, we all left with wonderful memories and thoughts of how people a handful of generations ago lived. For all of us, it was like a trip back in time; no cars (we rode a stagecoach), internet, cell phones, Starbucks…the list goes on.