Canadian Forces Camp Chilcotin

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Canadian Forces Camp Chilcotin is a Canadian Forces training camp in the Chilcotin District, to the west of the city of Williams Lake on the eastern Chilcotin Plateau. The 40977 hectares (101,256 acres) of land is currently owned by the Federal Government. Within its boundaries, the so-called "Military Block" contains Drummond (Island) Lake, Fish Lake, Callanan Lake, as well as innumerable other small lakes. It also contains the Volcanic Neck, Danilʔaz (known by settlers as "The Dome"), and parts of Beecher Prairie.

History[edit]

Known today as the Chilcotin Military Training Area, the land once was used extensively by both the Tlesqox-t'in of the Tsilhqot'in Nation (Anglicized as Chilcotin), and possibly also the Setlemuk, AKA Canyon Shuswap. Many historic village sites of Quiggly hole as well as countless other archaeological sites have been located within the area. After the smallpox epidemic of 1862, almost all the Canyon Shuswap people died, and survivors joined with today's Alkali Lake band (Esketemc). After the threat of a third intentional introduction of smallpox to the region, Tŝilhqot'in Chief Lhatŝ'aŝʔin began the Chilcotin War in 1864 to make it known to all settlers and other First Nations that the homelands of the Tŝilhqot'in were off-limits, and all outsiders were removed. This included the area known today as the Chilcotin Military Training Area. While the Tŝilhqot'in recovered from population decimation, the lands were used less than previous countless generations of indigenous people. This changed in the mid 20th Century when First Nations leaders established at Fish Lake (AKA "Chilcotin Forest") an interdisciplinary cultural centre and field school, where youth and others were taught traditional hunting and gathering practices, net making, hide tanning, etc. A revival of Tŝilhqot'in language also took place at Fish Lake. However, the lands were acquired by the Canadian Federal Government with questionable consent from those using the land, and today all that remains of the cultural centre are decrepit building foundations and overgrown driveways. During their exercises, the Military has practiced with explosives on old-growth Douglas fir, and it is reported that the forests are still strewn with razor wire and potentially unexploded devices. Hunters are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when in the area. In 2017, the Military Block was heavily affected by wildfire - as was the majority of the Chilcotin Plateau.

References[edit]

  • "Chilcotin, Canadian Forces Camp". BC Geographical Names.

Coordinates: 52°05′00″N 122°33′00″W / 52.08333°N 122.55000°W / 52.08333; -122.55000