Erected to expunge Ktunaxa First Nation language and culture in favour of English and Roman Catholicism, the imposing St. Eugene Mission residential school is now a native-owned luxury hotel, casino and golf resort. Inside, visit an interpretive centre that honours Ktunaxa history and renewal, as land and social rights are acknowledged by courts and governments.
The Ktunaxa language is linguistically isolated and native speakers have their own unique names for places and geographic features within their territory. The word ‘Kootenay’ is drived from the Ktunaxa word ‘Quthni’, meaning ‘to travel by water’.
After contact with 19th century fur traders and settlers, the Ktunaxa suffered huge losses after succumbing to European diseases to which they had no immunity. Subsequent mineral discoveries brought still more newcomers, along with new religions and a new language.
This centre provides visitors with a first hand look into the life of the Ktunaxa people pre-contact, contact and present. They also offer a glance at the Ktunaxa traditional territory, aboriginal perspective of the area, its history and its people. The building was once an Indian Industrial School from 1912 to 1970 and the only one in Canada converted into a destination resort.
Click on the video at left to hear Ktunaxa elder Liz Gravelle tell an ancient story of the Mount Mazama volcano nearly 8,000 years ago. Liz tells the story in her native Ktunaxa language, translated by subtitles.
1912 to 1970.