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Heritage Markers on the Okanagan Rail Trail, Part 4

Indigenous Heritage Markers along Wood Lake and the Oyama isthmus

Three Okanagan designed Heritage Markers, prepared largely by Ruby Alexis of the Okanagan Indian Band, are featured along the Okanagan Rail Trail.  As noted earlier, this project is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia | Canada 150: Celebrating B.C. Communities and their Contributions to Canada grant program. Two of these panels are located at the Ribbleworth Creek waterfall and the third on the Oyama isthmus.

Panel one, Dance of the Kokanee features a woodcut by Barb Marchand, a depiction of shore-spawning salmon that she watched leaping in the moonlight on the shore of a local lake. Content of the panel includes discussion of shore spawners and the fishing method used by Okanagan Indians in this location.

Heritage marker
Click to enlarge.

Panel two, Wood Lake Fishers, features an historic photograph by Allis Miller of the fishing trio, Terese McDougall, Freddy Jones, and Olivier “Boss” McDougall at Wood Lake in the 1930s. Content concerns what species these huge fish might be (Kikinee, Sockeye, Coho, or Chinook), the consequences of damming at Okanagan Falls in 1950s and brief family history of the McDougalls of Duck Lake.

Heritage Markers

Panel three in the aboriginal series, Fantastic Fibres, features important products manufactured by Okanagan Indian people using tules and spatsin. These plant materials were used in making fishing and deer nets and well as tule mats used as covering of conical shelters during most seasons. These fibrous plants were critical to Indigenous life locally and as trade items.

Heritage markers

Earlier blog posts about these heritage markers are available on this website:


  • It is very interesting to see the McDougal family recognized in the Rail Trail sign. I first read of Dave McDougal and his brother Aeneas in “The Valley of Youth” by C.W. Holiday. The story related they were sons of the Scottish HBC packer John McDougal and very proud of their heritage.

  • Hi Murray, You are right and the McDougall family were very early settlers in Lake Country. The next generation of McDougalls attended the Duck Lake School, the first in Lake Country. A photo of them appears in a previous blog, Reminiscences of Clara Hallam (nee Bailey). Included in that blog is a photograph of two of the next generation of McDougalls, Emily and Oliver, the young man who appears in the photograph on the heritage marker.

    The 1909 Duck Lake school photograph includes the mixed-ancestry Simpson children who also likely lived on the Duck Lake Reserve, those being Annie, George and Harvey. The other children in the class were all from two Fir Valley families: the Baileys, Clara, Phoebe, Wesley and Aaron and the McClures, Hughie, and Jesse. Only four families were represented in that school in 1909.

  • This is amazing! The first time I have seen a photograph of my great grandfather Oliver “boss” and great-great grandmother. Thank you for sharing. I have heard his name and read some stories over the years but I never seen a photo. Wonderful

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