The Harrison-Lillooet Wagon Road came through this area, with an important stop at 29-Mile House, across the narrows from the present community. The Gold Rush Road connected the Harrison, Lillooet, Anderson, and Seton Lakes, where steamships brought miners to the goldfields.
The allotment of Indian reserves occurred in two waves, first in 1881 by the Indian Reserve Commission and again in 1916 by the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs.
A valley-wide outmigration began around 1950, because of the isolation and absence of services, opportunity, and jobs. As a result, the Samahquam Ucwalmicw had no permanent resident population on their Indian reserves of Baptiste Smith 1 and 1a, Samahquam IR1, and Sachteen IRs 2 and 2a before 1990.
With no resident populations, there was no access to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC, now Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) funding support for capital works, infrastructure, or community development. This changed in the mid-1980s, when Samahquam leadership secured Canada Employment support. As band planner, supported by band funds, Eppa (Gerard Peters) and his team created the band’s first Community Development Plan in 1987.
By 1990, Eppa and Brenda Lester along with Patrick Wallace took up permanent residence in a converted school bus at Sachteen, and began a Canada Employment sponsored log-building course.
Two homes were constructed and remain on-site. Another was built, and moved to the former Baptiste Smith community. Once INAC policies were overcome, a return home began in earnest in the early 1990s, with construction of the Baptiste Smith community at the southwest end of Little Lillooet Lake on the Lillooet River system.
Schoolchildren from Q’aLaTKú7eM (the Baptiste community) are bussed to the Xit’olacw community school in Mount Currie, or to the public schools of Signal Hill Elementary and Pemberton Secondary.
The Samahquam Nation intends on increasing the number of houses on the Baptiste-Smith I.R. 1b reserve. They are also planning on erecting an elder’s fish camp at the outlet of Little Lillooet Lake.
P.O. Box 610, Mount Currie, BC, V0N 2K0
Phone: 604-894-0021 Fax: 604-894-0031