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The Plateau People
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Arrival The Plateau People arrived in the plateau country from the south some 10,000 years ago, as the glaciers retreated northwards.
Location
The Plateau peoples lived in a small region that included the southern interior of British Columbia and Alberta.

Map Source - The Canadian Encyclopedia
Nations
Historically, the Plateau people of Canada were divided into three main groups: the Athapascan, Interior Salish, and Ktunaxa. These three groups could then be further divided into the eight main Plateau groups: the Tsilhqot'in (formerly the Chilcotin), the Carrier, the Nicola, Secwepemc (formerly the Shuswap), the Stl'atl'imx (formerly the Lillooet), the Okanagan, the Nlaka'pamux (formerly the Thompson), and the Ktunaxa (formerly the Kutenai or Kootenay).
Languages The languages of the Plateau people can be divided into three main language groups: Athapascan, Salishian, and Ktunaxa.
  • Athapascan - The Athapascan languages of the Plateau region are part of the Northern Athapascan language groups, and are related to the Athapascan languages in the sub-arctic language groups. Athapascan languages:
    • Tsilhqot'in (Chilcotin)
    • Carrier
    • Nicola-Similkameen (language now extinct)
  • Interior Salishan: The Interior Salishian languages can be divided into the Northern Interior Salishian languages:
    • Secwepemc (Shuswap)
    • Stl'atl'imx (Lillooet)
    And the Southern Interior Salishan languages:
    • Okanagan
    • Nlaka'pamux (Thompson)
  • Ktunaxa: The Ktunaxa language is unrelated to any other languages in British Columbia. It is spoken by the:
    • Ktunaxa (Kootenay or Kutenai)
Tsilhqot'in
Name Formerly the Chilcotin (an english rendering of Tsilhqot'in), their name means "people of the Chilcotin River".
Chilcotin River
Location They lived in the northwestern region of the Plateau, along the west side of the Fraser River.
Language Athapascan
Carrier
Name Their name comes from a custom the people followed of widows carrying the ashes of their deceased husbands in a bag for a year.
Carrier woman
Location They inhabited the central interior of B.C., the northern region of the Plateau.
Language Athapascan
Nicola
Name Their name for themselves is unknown, due to the extinction of their language. The term "Nicola" is incorrect in describing their people since it refers to a Secwepemc chief who once held power in the Nicola Valley. The Nlaka'pamux called them "Stuwix" to distinguish them from others in the Nicola Valley.
Nicola Valley
Location They lived in the Nicola Valley of B.C.
Language Athapascan language - their Athapascan dialect is now extinct. They have largely been absorbed into the Okanagan and Nlaka'pamux people.
Secwepemc
Name They were formerly called the Shuswap, which is an anglicized version of their name.
Secwepemc man
Location The two Northern Interior Salish groups lived in an area that stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the Fraser River. The Secwepemc lived north and east of Kamloops, B.C.
Language Interior Salishan
Stl'atl'imx
Name They were formerly known as Lillooet, which means "wild onion". Lillooet is actually the name of one of their former settlements. They are known as the Stl'atl'imx to the Secwepemc and Nlaka'pamux. (There are many anglised versions of the name "Stl'atl'imx", including "Stlatlimuq" and "St'at'imc"). They have no name for themselves.
Stl'atl'imx women drying berries
Location The two Northern Interior Salish groups lived in an area that stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the Fraser River. The Stl'atl'imx lived in the western portion of the Plateau region.
Language Interior Salishan
Okanagan
Location These two southern Interior Salish groups lived in the southern interior area of British Columbia, and stretched down into Washington State. The Okanagan lived in the Okanagan Valley, from head of Okanagan Lake to the lake's confluence with the Columbia River.
Okanagan Indian elders
Language Interior Salishan
Nlaka'pamux
Name They were formerly known as the Thompson, referring to the river that runs through their territory.
Thompson River
Location These two southern Interior Salish groups lived in the southern interior area of British Columbia, and stretched down into Washington State. The Nlaka'pamux lived in southern B.C. and northern Washington state, along the Thompson River.
Language Interior Salishan
Ktunaxa
Name Ktunaxa is an anglised word of the name they call themselves. They were formerly known as Kutenai or Kootenay, which is a corrupted anglised version of their name.
Ktunaxa girl
Location The Ktunaxa were a unique group who lived along the Kootenay River in southeastern British Columbia, into Alberta, Idaho, and Montana. Since they lived in the eastern portion of the Plains, they often crossed the Rockies to hunt buffalo. In many aspects, the Ktunaxa people were more similar to the Plains people than the other Plateau people. There is historical evidence suggesting that they were originally living in the Plains area and were driven into the mountains by the Blackfeet.
Language Ktunaxa - The Ktunaxa spoke a language that was unrelated to any other First Peoples group in Canada.
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