On September 5, 1811, David Thompson and his crew reached the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay rivers where they had an historic meeting with the First Nations — the first known direct European-First Nations contact in our region.
Two hundred years later — to the day — the Castlegar Heritage Society will hold a free community event on Monday at 1 p.m. in Millennium Park in Castlegar to commemorate the 200th anniversary of David Thompson’s arrival in the West Kootenay.
As part of the event in the park, historian Jack Nisbet will give a talk with slides on Thompson’s epic voyage. Marilyn James, the appointed spokeswoman for the Sinixt Nation, will speak on the importance of the event for the First Nations people of our region.
An aboriginal drumming circle will also mark the event.
Harry Wong, grandson of Alexander Christian, the leader of the last Sinixt family to live at the confluence, has agreed to attend the event and launch a sturgeon-nose canoe — perhaps the first such occurrence on the Columbia in many decades.
Following the talk, people will be invited to walk along the banks of the Columbia with local historians to consider where Thompson may have landed.
Refreshments will be provided. There will also be craft activities for small children. Please bring your own lawn chair or blanket to sit on.
This is only one of a series of events planned to commemorate this historic occasion. The others include:
• September 6: Peace Café, Mir Centre for Peace, Selkirk College, 7 p.m. “What Thompson Saw and What He Missed,” featuring Eileen Pearkes and Jack Nisbet.
• September 15: Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History, 7 p.m. “What Thompson Saw and What He Missed.”
• September 22: School District 8 student reenactment of first contact, Mir Centre for Peace, Selkirk College.