Today and in Recent History

Kusawa is part of the traditional territory of at least three First Nations — where their people were born and lived the entirety of their lives.

Image of Elder

There were important meeting places at points where travel routes from north, south, east and west met, where tribes gathered for the commerce key to their social, economic and power systems. The stories as white explorers came into these lands are many, and fascinating — full of adventure, humour and vibrant personalities, especially the First Nations people; the chiefs, wives, leaders and guides with their knowledge, generosity, honesty and hospitality.

The oral history of the area is rich, meaningful, and stretches from present day back hundreds of years. In recent years, archaeologists and palaeontologists have drawn international attention to the importance of Kusawa Lake as a window on the past. Melting snowfields have revealed extensive ancient caribou dung deposits and artifacts left there by the people who once hunted the caribou, as old as 9,000 years. Remains of bison, sheep, and other animals have been found, often beautifully preserved in the ice on the high cold ridges.

Today, the Kusawa area remains home to individuals still deeply connected to living on the land, and to families and First Nations with generations of history there. Cottage developments remain, in which a few people make their permanent home. For the rest of us, long deep Kusawa Lake and the Takhini River are popular destinations for camping, canoeing, boating, hiking, angling and hunting.

Archeological dig

The people used to gather at my grandpa’s house. Big house, my grandpa’s house. What do you think they’re going to get, those people! Porcupine quills, moccasins, caribou skins. Gee, nice....and the blankets! You ought to see the dancing. This way and that way in red blankets, those Klukshu people. Humpback fish, little red fish, that’s the dance they’re making. People were dancing just like little fish.

  • Old People in Those Days, They Told Their Story All the Time, Mrs. Annie Ned