Summerland was once known as Nicola Prairie, named after Grand Chief Nicola.
The Nicola Prairie name is listed on some of the earliest maps of the region. The name meant the land of Nicola. In 1845, Chief Nicola was protected by eighty bodyguards.
In 1902, when Summerland was founded, only three Indigenous families remained: the Johnny Pierre, Antoine Pierre and William Manuel families. The children of these three families attended Summerland’s first official school in 1904.
William Manuel’s home was near Alf Richardson’s lumber yard. Today, that home would be close to the Summerland Animal Clinic on Jubilee Road East near Rosedale Avenue.
Indigenous families played an important role in what is now Summerland. The community’s downtown once was Penticton Indian Reserve #3.
The reserve was a cattle ranch and farm operated by the Pierre families. The Antoine Pierre family home was located close to today’s museum. The Johnny Pierre home was located near present-day Washington Avenue.
In 1886, Johnny Pierre settled what is now downtown Summerland and used water from Eneas Creek to irrigate crops of hay and potatoes. At the time, what is now Summerland’s downtown was Penticton Indian Reserve #3. The reserve was a cattle ranch and farm operated by the Pierre families.
In 1904, the Penticton Indian Reserve #3 was exchanged for land adjacent to Penticton Indian Reserve #1.
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