Thompson’s arrival, 200 years later

On Sept. 5 — Labour Day Monday — a community event in Millennium Park will mark the 200th anniversary of David Thompson’s arrival in the West Kootenay.

On Sept. 5 — Labour Day Monday — a community event in Millennium Park will mark the 200th anniversary of David Thompson’s arrival in the West Kootenay.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. near the entrance to the park.

Award-winning historian and naturalist, Jack Nisbet, will give a talk about Thompson’s life and work as a fur trader, explorer and mapmaker.

Sinixt Nation spokesperson, Marilyn James, will also talk about the First Nations world Thompson encountered along the Columbia River and Arrow Lakes and the significance of this first meeting between Europeans and native peoples in the region.

Following the talk, community members will be invited to take a guided walk along the banks of the Columbia to imagine where Thompson may have camped and had a famous meeting with the First Nations people.

The event is being organized by the Castlegar Heritage Society and history instructors from Selkirk College and College of the Rockies with the support of the Castlegar and District Arts Council.

On Sept. 5, 1811, Thompson and his crew arrived at the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay rivers just after 1 p.m. By this time, Thompson had already journeyed to the mouth of the Columbia River and was heading upriver to solve the final piece of the puzzle of the course of the river.

A couple of Thompson’s men explored some distance up the Kootenay River during the afternoon. They were also looking for food as everyone was weak from the diet they had been surviving on. About 5 pm. a group of First Nations people arrived in eight canoes with a present of salmon and berries and to trade bear’s fat, meat, and roots for which Thompson and his crew were very grateful.

The following day, Thompson’s party headed upriver through Tin Cup rapids. Along the way, Thompson noted Mount Sentinel and Pass Creek. They camped that evening at Syringa Creek.

For more information call Duff Sutherland, 365-2779 or Deb McIntosh, 365-6440.