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1900 – 1920


The railway is making its way through the Ktunaxa Traditional Territory, and reserve lands are expropriated for this purpose. These lands are later not needed and they revert back to reserve status. The railway opens up this territory for settlement and further commercial activity. The Ktunaxa are settling into villages and small homesteads on the reserve.

Indians are required to obtain passes from the Indian Agent to travel beyond the B.C. boundaries of the Traditional Territory and, in many instances, even to leave the reserve. The traditional leadership is still intact; however, cultural integration with foreign principles is noticeable.

The McKenna-McBride Commission holds hearings throughout the province regarding B.C. reserves. The Commission recommends that adjustments to the reserves be permitted. First Nations across the province are organizing politically to challenge the government’s approach to land allocations. The Ktunaxa join forces with these other tribes. A petition is filed with Ottawa, protesting the land expropriations and cut-offs that had resulted in approximately 36,000 acres of land being taken away from existing Indian reserves.

The influence of ‘civilization’ has resulted in the near complete dismantling of the traditional Ktunaxa society. Other governments are regulating traditional activities but many Ktunaxa practices continue in secrecy. The Church has a fairly strong hold on Ktunaxa education. The Ktunaxa language is still the first language spoken in most Ktunaxa homes, but the children are not able to continue learning in and speaking the Ktunaxa language because of residential schools. Disease continues to reduce the population of the Ktunaxa Nation, with tuberculosis being responsible for many deaths.