Local historian and retired teacher Barry Sale was a guest speaker at the Cariboo Women’s Institute Rally held Saturday

Local historian and retired teacher Barry Sale was a guest speaker at the Cariboo Women’s Institute Rally held Saturday

Sale explains origin of common names

Local historian Barry Sale outlined some of the origins of regional names during the Women’s Institute Rally last Saturday.

Columneetza is an Athabaskan word meaning “the meeting place of the noble ones or gathering place of the princely people,” local historian Barry Sale told the Women’s Institute Rally last Saturday.

“It referred to the area around Williams Lake where the Athabaskan people would often have powwows with the Tsilhqot’ins and with the Shuswaps as well.”

When the Shuswap settled in the area, they kept the name.

“Their first village, wiped out pretty much by small pox, was called Columneetza Village and the first Williams Lake was right around that area.”

Fur traders arrived in the 1820s through to the 1880s, and established several forts — Fort Alexandria in 1842 and Fort Chilcotin, established a few years later.

“All through this area were trails and routes, not only followed by First Nations, but also used by the fur traders, called brigade trails,” Sale said, adding many of the modern day roads follow some of those original trail routes.

“When the gold rush began, it was natural for the gold seekers to follow those trails.”

The fur traders communicated with the First Nations using Chinook jargon as a trading language, which Sale said consisted of English, French and different Aboriginal languages.

“There is nothing like it in the rest of the world. It was used extensively in B.C. If you could speak Chinook you could pretty well communicate with any First Nations person anywhere.”

In Chinook jargon, chuck means water and skookum means mighty or big, so a place called Skookumchuk meant “mighty water.”

In the Cariboo some of the Chinook-influenced names are Tyee Lake. Tyee means “lake of the chiefs.” Nesika means “our, belonging to us.” Canim means “canoe.”

There were Spanish influences too.

In the early 1860s Spanish packers named the San Jose River that ran by the St. Joseph’s Mission.

Pablo Creek was named after another Spanish packer and Spanish Lake was a place where many packers stayed overnight or for a couple of weeks because there was good grass and water located there.

The most famous packer was Cataline.

“Everyone thinks he was Spanish, but he was from the Basque area between Spain and France,” Sale said. Cataline began packing in the Fraser Canyon in 1858 and packed up until 1912.

He would do two or three trips a year from Yale up to the gold fields in Barkerville.

“It was a rough hard path,” Sale said.

During the Gold Rush around 1862, one of his mules went lame, or broke a leg, on the final return trip of the year.

Cataline was soft hearted and didn’t want to kill it, so he turned it lose and figured maybe it would be able to survive.

“He did several more trips the following year and the year after he was going up the mountain in the Fraser Canyon and all of a sudden this mule showed up and stood in line as if it was ready to pack,” Sale said.

It was in good condition and had survived and Cataline was quite surprised.

He ended up naming the nearby mountain Jack Ass Mountain.

Sale, a retired school teacher, was back by popular demand as the guest speaker. He’d been asked to talk about local history.

“I didn’t teach history as a teacher,” Sale said. “I only got interested in history after I retired.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor (from left) Judy Gibbons and Rajneesh Khugsal, seen here in 2020, are all ready to help people file their taxes. (Patrick Davies photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake volunteers ready to offer community income tax program

Co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor said he has already received inquiries

Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton with her dogs Luigi, left, and Sami enjoys a daily walk in Big Lake. (Photo submitted)
Women’s wellness focus of International Women’s Day events in Williams Lake

In its third year, the event will be offered virtually

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read