Department of Archeology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, CANADA.
This thesis provides the first synthesis of Similkameen First Nations prehistory. It is based upon archaeological overview, inventory and impact assessment projects (1 993- 2004). Three main topics are investigated; 1) construction of a cultural chronology encompassing 200 to 10,000 years of valley prehistory, 2) a critical examination of the Plateau Microblade tradition (PMt), and 3) a discussion of the problem of determining and/or assigning ethnicity to the archaeological record, specifically with regard to protohistoric and pre-contact Similkameen-Athapaskan and Salish-speaking populations.
The construction of a culture history sequence is a necessary prerequisite to an examination of the Plateau Microblade tradition and its relationship to the ethnohistoric presence of Athapaskan-speaking populations in the Nicola and Similkameen River Valleys. The Plateau Microblade tradition is examined and validated as an important technological Plateau material culture complex. Additional material, and non-material, culture indices are examined in terms of whether ethnicity can be constructed for pre-contact populations in the Similkameen Valley.
The results of investigations indicate; 1) that pre-contact populations first inhabited the Similkameen Valley between 7,500 and 10,000 BP, 2) the Plateau Microblade tradition is a valid theoretical construct and 3) determination of ethnicity for Plateau hunter-gatherer and hunter-gatherer-fisher ("foraging") groups within the Similkameen Valley cannot be verified based on current evidence.