Historical artifacts have been found in the area now known as Summerland.
The Okanagan community was formerly known as Nicola Prairie. The term was used from 1826 to 1860. This term was used to describe someone’s property, in this case that of High Chief Nicola. One of the reasons this area was chosen was the excellent protection offered by the silt cliffs.
Access to the flat lake was limited to a few trails. Three access trails have evidence of battle sites. The most famous was the Battle of Aqskepkina.
Numerous burial sites, arrowheads, jade jewelry and a green copper knife were found.
In 1845, Chief Nicola was protected by 80 bodyguards. In 1902, when Summerland was founded, there were only three Aboriginal families left: the Johnny Pierre, Antoine Pierre and William Manuel families. The children of these three families attended the first official school in Summerland in 1904.
Downtown Summerland was originally Penticton Indian Reservation #3.
A cattle ranch and a farm were operated there by the Pierre families. Antoine Pierre’s family home was located near the current museum. Johnny Pierre’s house was located near present-day Washington Avenue.
In 1886, Johnny Pierre moved to what is now downtown Summerland and used water from Eneas Creek to irrigate hay and potato crops. In the 1890s both families lived at the George Barclay House on Victoria Road. Later, Antoine Pierre participated in the development of the Dominion Experimental Farm.
In 1904, Penticton Indian Reserve #3 was exchanged for land adjacent to Penticton Indian Reserve #1. Penticton Indian Reservation #3 became West Summerland, or what is known today as Downtown Summerland.
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