Spuzzum First Nation

Spuzzum First Nation (Thompson: Spô’zêm) is a Nlaka'pamux First Nations government located near Spuzzum, British Columbia. It is a member of the Fraser Canyon Indian Administration, one of three tribal councils of the Nlaka'pamux people. Other members of the Fraser Canyon Indian Administration are the Kanaka Bar, Skuppah and Nicomen First Nations (the Nicomen First Nation is also a member of the Nicola Tribal Association).

The Spuzzum First Nation reserve community and offices are located at Spuzzum in the lower Fraser Canyon, near the Alexandra Bridge and about 10 miles north of Yale.

Other Nlaka'pamux governments belong either to the Nicola Tribal Association or the Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council.


The chief of the Spuzzum in 1858, Kowpelst ("White Hat") was one of the first to work Hill's Bar at the onset of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush and was considered a "friendly Indian" during the Fraser Canyon War of that fall between the American miners and the upstream Nlaka'pamux of Camchin. He was appointed as a magistrate by Sir James Douglas During the Fraser Canyon War, a few thousand miners from bars farther up the canyon thronged at Spuzzum in terror of the upstream Nlaka'pamux, and some villages and food caches of the Spuzzum people were destroyed by armed parties of miners coming up from Yale, even though relations with the Spuzzum were considered friendlier than with their Nlaka'pamux kin farther upriver.

Reserve landsEdit

Spuzzum First Nation has sixteen different reserves ranging greatly in size, and totaling 648 hectares (2.50 sq mi). The largest two (Spuzzum 1 and 1a) stand on the West Bank of the Fraser River near the mouth of Spuzzum Creek.[1]

Name Hectares
Chapman's Bar 10 2.80
Long Tunnel 5 2.60
Long Tunnel 5a 35.90
Papsilqua 2 16.60
Papsilqua 2A 27.70
Papsilqua 2B 20.30
Saddle Rock 9 32
Skuet 6 4.70
Spuzzum 1 125.30
Spuzzum 1A 126.50
Spuzzum 7 46.10
Stout 8 47.90
Teequaloose 3 7.70
Teequaloose 3A 60.40
Yelakin 4 26.80
Yelakin 4A 64.70
Combined area 648

Spuzzum peopleEdit

Chief and CouncillorsEdit

Chief James Hobart, Councillor Diana Stromquist and Councillor Angie Mitchell were elected on June 13, 2020. [4]

Treaty ProcessEdit


The 1878 Reserve Commission census found 237 people living in Spuzzum and neighbouring villages.[5][6] The 1881 census listed only 146 people, but the number is dubious since that era (during construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway) would likely have been the community's peak population. Other estimates places the Indigenous population at the time around 400.[5]

As of September 2015, the community had a registered population of 274, though only 46 lived on reserve.[7]

Economic DevelopmentEdit

Social, Educational and Cultural Programs and FacilitiesEdit

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • York, Annie (2011-11-01). Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories 1808-1939. UBC Press. ISBN 9780774841887.


  1. ^ Reserves/Settlements/Villages, Spuzzum Profile, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  2. ^ Carl Stromquist, an accomplished artist of aboriginal descent, is descended from the Spuzzum first nation. His ancestry can be traced back to Xem't'sene, who was not a chief per se, but noted as a "man of power" within the community and is recorded to have had 42 children with numerous wives.
  3. ^ Brenda Crabtree, "A Journey into Time Immemorial"
  4. ^ Governance, Spuzzum Profile, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  5. ^ a b York, Annie (2011-11-01). Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories 1808-1939. UBC Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780774841887. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  6. ^ Harris, Cole (2011-11-01). The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism and Geographical Change. UBC Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780774842563. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  7. ^ Registered Population, Spuzzum Profile, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada