From influencing the seasonal camps of early First Nations to the modern communities that exist today, the land and water dictate where people settle in the Columbia Basin. Depending on the resources available – the amount of wild game that travel through, for example, or the amount of sunlight in winter months – settlement patterns have hardly changed. That’s because there is very little arable land available for both food production and settlement in relation to the size of the Basin.
The different First Nations that live in the Basin – Okanagan Nation Alliance, Ktunaxa, Secwepemc (Shuswap) and Sinixt (Lakes) – have lived here more than 10,000 years.
Early explorers, map-makers, trappers, miners and settlers relied on the Columbia River for transportation and the river became a corridor for human settlement.