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The Geography of Memory
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The Geography of Memory

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Recovering Stories of a Landscape's First People
by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes

They were here, but what happened to this early West Kootenay culture? Why does the landscape display so little sign of them? And why have most of us never heard of them? — from Chapter One

The Sinixt, or "Arrow Lakes Indians," are the original inhabitants of the Upper Columbia Basin. Decimated by disease, displaced by settlement, and devastated by the dams that flooded their village and burial sites and eliminated ocean salmon from their territory, they were as a final insult declared "extinct" by the Canadian government in 1956. Yet they have steadfastly maintained close cultural and spiritual ties to their homeland.

In a quest for understanding, Eileen Delehanty Pearkes set out to find the lost story behind the Sinixt First Nation. With the help of contemporary Sinixt people, Pearkes travelled, researched, and interviewed her way through a course of discovery. Her personal account is imbued with a deep respect for the land and its First Peoples.

Part history, part ethnography, and part nature essay, this compact book contains a chart of wild food plants, timeline, maps, illustrations, and rare archival photographs.

FIRST NATIONS HISTORY • 96 pp • 6 x 9 • colour maps, colour and b/w photos and illustrations
ISBN 0-9731222-0-X • paper • $19.95

Reviews

The Geography of Memory clearly establishes Eileen Delehanty Pearkes as a writer of keen intellect and compassion. This is an important book, an exploration of the relationship between landscape and the imagination. It is thoughtful, illuminating, and provocative, and it demonstrates an unapologetic respect for what is local and real. . . . We need more books like this.
—  Terry Glavin, author of A Death Feast in Dimlahamid


In this lucid and thoughtful book, [Pearkes] has traced, throughout the bewildering geography of the West Kootenay, the story of the Sinixt. . . . Pearkes' own reflections . . . on the need for all of us to understand our own history, remind us that this is not only a task to be undertaken by specialists, but by all of us as a means of acquiring a sense of place and of ourselves.
—  Thomas R. Berger, author of One Man's Justice


This publication exemplifies thoughtful attention to detail. Its maps are informative, the layout and design are subtle yet exquisite, sidenotes are appropriate and descriptive, illustrations are wonderfully selected and the text is sensitively crafted by a gifted wordsmith.
—  Ron Welwood, a review in B.C. Historical News


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