The Heritage Network

The Heritage Network

Fort Colvile Bicentennial


 Silverado Articles

Early on, Warren Seyler, Spokane Tribal historian, suggested that we start publicizing this event well in advance of the 2025 date.  To that end, a series of articles has been published in the Silverado Express.  Many of you are probably not familiar with that publication.  It is N.E. Washingtons largest community newspaper and is sponsored by the local Chevy dealer, Country Chevrolet. It is delivered free to 23,000 residents in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties.  The paper covers many local events and history. Unfortunately, it does not retain those stories on a website.  Fortunately, we are able to retain stories written for the Silverado that concern the heritage of HBC Fort Colvile on our website, The Heritage Network.  Here are those that have been published so far.

In the Stream: This story and the book by the same name cover the early life of Able One, a Sinixt woman, whose life bridges the transition brought about by the incursion of Hudson’s Bay into the Kettle Falls area.

Angus McDonald : Angus McDonald ran the fort for a time and his colorful life involves not just the fur trade but Native American life over a large region.

The McDonald Family: Angus had an uncle who also ran the fort and Angus married a Nez Pierce woman, Catherine. A wealth of stories about her and their daughter, Christina, expand the family tales.

The Fur Trade: With the help of fur trade historian, Tom Holloway, this article enumerates the scale of the fur trade in this region.

Kettle Falls Historical Center:  This article reviews some of the displays at the museum which sits in the midst of what was the Kettle Falls salmon fishery and HBC fort.

Métis Waistcoat: This article touches on the elaborate beadwork developed in the wake of the fur trade.

Friends of Spokane House: An article stemming from the work of this dedicated group of reenactors who portray the lives and activities of fur traders in the Northwest.

Talk About Canoes: Canoes were a major means of transportation in the Columbia watershed from long before it got that name.  They became the major vehicle of the Hudson’s Bay Company too.

A River People: This article stems from a presentation by Warren Seyler on Spokane Tribal History.  This is a huge topic, and the article only lays out the basic milieu of their encounter with white people.

We are Still Here: This became the cover story of the July edition.  Inevitably it over-simplified the situation for present day local tribes, but at least it pointed to the importance of their annual salmon ceremony.

Canoe Crossing: This story looks at related annual event showing the revival of canoe culture and its ties to salmon migration on Lake Osoyoos.

Mapping History: As mentioned above, this article launched the 1865 mapping project.

A Time of Fishing: Starting with a display of salmon species at the Kettle Falls Historical Center, this article helps describe the biological and historical importance of salmon to native culture.  There are some welcome criticisms of the article in that it should have stemmed more closely from work by tribal biologists and may not depict the situation 200 years ago accurately.  Expect more information.

Kandiaronk: Expected to be published in December 2022, this article reaches back to examine the views of Wendat chief, politician and philosopher, Kandiaronk.  His expression of the views of Hurons, Iroquois, and other natives in Northeast North America parallels many of those of local tribes and has direct ties to the enlightenment philosophies of America’s founding fathers.

George Simpson Family Affairs – Part I

Sir George Simpson, the Governor-in-Chief of Rupert’s Land for the Hudson’s Bay Company, ordered the establishment of Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile nearly 200 years ago in 1825 and that Spokane House the former North West Company fur trading post be abandoned…. 

George Simpson Family Affairs – Part II

This is the second article in a series about Sir George Simpson and his mixed blood son George Stewart Simpson. He was 28 years old when he became Hudson’s Bay Company’s (HBC) acting governor-in-chief in North America.  The first article recounts his aristocratic roots although he was born out of wedlock and goes on to discuss the changes in the status of the mixed blood marriages over 200 years of the fur trade….

Son of Sir Simpson – Part III

This is the third and last of the Simpson series. It explores the life of Sir George Simpson’s mixed blood son, George Stewart Simpson, who unlike his mother, remained relatively close to his father and was given a position in the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Making History

This is not an article directly related to Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile but it
indirectly is. Early in 2023 the Kettle Falls Historical Center suffered
tremendous water damage. It is very close to the original site of Hudson’s Bay
Fort Colvile. This article describes the situation.

Shining Mountains

This article is a prelude to the reading of Shining Mountains by Alix
Christie in Colville in June 2023. The book and this article is about the life
of Angus McDonald an important Trader at HBC Fort Colvile and his Native
American family and relatives.


For the Shining Mountains reading a booklist of material relevant to HBC
Fort Colville was prepared. It is not comprehensive but include many important
works and has a rating system as to their importance to the history of the

Salmon Ceremony

This article is about the June 21, 2023 salmon ceremony held at Kettle
Falls. It includes material on the Canoe Journey leading up to the ceremony and
salmon recovery efforts by the tribes.

Columbia Boat

This article traces the development of the Columbia Boat from its initial design and construction by David Thompson at Boat Encampment near Revelstoke through 40 years of use by the fur trade on the Columbia River.  It’s exceptional design and use of local materials are highlighted along with its main production at HBC Fort Colvile.

Spokane House

This is mostly about Jaco Finley who was the founder and last resident of the Spokane House trading post.  It includes a drawing of Finley by Shaun Deller.  Spokane House was a important precursor to HBC Fort Colvile.  The article describes the competition in the fur trade that led it to be moved to Fort Colvile and the consternation that move created in the existing residents.

Noisy Waters

This article reports on the presentation by Bill Layman, Shelly Boyd and Patti Bailey on September 30th 2023 at the Woodland Theater in Kettle Falls based on old photos of the falls and interviews with people who knew them well. It includes a photo from David Chance’s Book, People of the Falls, which shows the Salmon Chief Knkanaxwa? and Baptiste La Pierre together. La Pierre was a principle figure in the article about the Columbia Boat since it was his duty to manage production of those boats at Fort Colvile.

Time Will Tell

This article serves a dual purpose of giving an overview of the cultural impacts of Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile and outlining what can be presented in connection with establishment.  The later purpose is to show the status of the project to this point and encourage next steps including demonstrated financial support and Native American control of the content.  

Fort, Factory, Farm and Fishery

Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile played many roles in the function of the company and the cultural transition of the community.  This article explores some of them.

Pack Trains

As the Canadian Border became enforced and settlers resented the Hudson’s Bay Company, HBC began moving furs by horse to Canada. There was a lot involved.

The Grist Mill

A very important production tool and center of community commerce, the grist mill stood the test of time and carried on production into 1916, long after the fort was abandoned.  

Indian Hemp

Although not related to the cannabis relatives normally associated with hemp, Indian hemp was a mainstay of Native life.  This article goes into the biology and tradition with some practical advice on how to separate the fiber and make cordage with it.