November 17: ASBC presents CANYON WAR


In association with the Anthropology Department of UVic

        November Lecture

Tuesday, Nov 17th 7:30pm

Cornett Building B129

University of Victoria 


CANYON WAR: Fraser River Gold Rush and Native-Newcomer conflict.


Prior to meeting will be a brief vote on the Archaeological Society’s Constitution changes.

The November lecture will feature the screening of “Canyon War: The Untold Story” (2009) and discussion with Dr. Daniel Marshall on the history behind the story.

The film uncovers the tumultuous events of 1858 in British Columbia, an untold story of a war swept under the carpet for 150 years. It was the days of the Fraser River Gold Rush, which saw some 30 to 40 thousand gold seekers flood into the Fraser Valley, culminating in the Fraser River War in August of that year. Many lives were lost, both Native and non-Native, until peace was finally concluded in Lytton through diplomatic efforts of N’lakapamux Chief, Spintlum, and an American miner and militia Captain Henry Snyder.

The film documents the roots of the war, as well as how two leaders managed to bring it to an end despite heavy odds and higher stakes. The efforts of Chief Spintlum of Lytton and Capt. Henry Snyder of San Francisco prevented the war from spreading south of the border something that would have almost certainly resulted in U.S. troops occupying the mainland of B.C.The significance of the conflict was downplayed by Gov. James Douglas, who was helpless to intervene in the war despite having instructions to prevent bloodshed between the miners and the First Nations. The full extent of the struggle has never been told until now.


Bio: Daniel Marshall received is PhD from UBC and his dissertation focused on BC gold rush of 1858, including a detailed study of the Fraser River War, the untold story of Native-Newcomer conflict that is at the very heart of the outstanding issues of Aboriginal rights and title being grappled with today. As Adjunct Assistant Professor of History, Marshall lectures in the history of Native-Newcomer relations at the University of Victoria and has worked with First Nations such as the Cowichan, Chemainus, Lytton, Penelakut, Skeetchestn, Songhees and Tk’emlups peoples, in addition to conducting Native-non-Native reconciliation workshops. Amoung other publications, he is the author of “Those Who Fell from the Sky: A History of the Cowichan peoples” (1999), “No-Parallel: American Miner-soldiers at War with the Nlaka’pamux of the Canadian West”, and “Mapping the New El Dorado: The Fraser River Gold Rush and the Appropriation of Native Space”


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