“A river is water in its loveliest form; rivers have life & sound & movement & infinity of variation; rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart.”
– Roderick Haig-Brown
The Kootenay Room 3-5-year-old Program holds our future, just as the Kootenay River directly contributed to the existence of our home. The Village of Canal Flats sits on a large alluvial fan formed by the Kootenay River whose glacier fed, blue green waters were traversed by David Thompson, who in 1808 named these flats McGillivray’s Portage after crossing 1.5 kilometres from Columbia Lake to the Kootenay River. Just as The Kootenay provided for our future, it also holds our past and provided for the first people living on its shores. The Ktunaxa (Kutenai) people’s creation story takes place right here. “At that time a large sea monster was causing a disturbance in what is now Columbia Lake. The monster escaped from the lake into the Kootenay River (which at that time flowed into Columbia Lake) and led everyone on a chase. Finally, the giant chief of animals, Natmuqcin, pushed over a mountain top, blocking the Kootenay River from flowing into Columbia Lake, corralling the sea monster. Red-headed woodpecker came and killed the monster and the animals feasted. After creating the white, black, and yellow people out of the sea monster’s remains, Natmuqcin looked at all the blood on his hands, let it fall to the grass saying, “this will be the red people, they will remain here forever. They will be small in number but powerful”. Somewhat like the children in this age group who have grown from tiny droplet to powerful rapids, the Kootenay represents a growing connection of past wisdom and future learning.