People of historic significance
Through the work of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, many people are recognized as people of historic significance for their historically important roles and contributions. Fort St. James National Historic Site is associated with several of these important individuals. They are listed below with links to further information:
Chief Kw’eh was a leader of the Dakelh people at Stuart Lake in the village of Nak’azdli. During his early life he distinguished himself as a warrior within a cycle of warfare between the Dakelh of Stuart Lake and the Chilcotin people to the south. In 1806, when Simon Fraser and his party arrived in Nak’azdli (Stuart Lake) to establish fur trade posts for the Northwest Company, Chief Kw’eh took on the role as fur trade chief, negotiating the new relationship between his people and the newcomers.
Sir James Douglas
Early in his career, Sir James Douglas served as a fur trade clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort St. James. He is best remembered for a famous confrontation he had there with the Dakelh Chief Kw’eh in 1828. After that he was removed to serve at Fort Vancouver (on the Columbia River), where he rose in the ranks and eventually became the first governor of the Colony of British Columbia in 1858.
Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice O.M.I.
Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice was a prominent Oblate missionaries who worked among the Dakelh First Nations from his base at Fort St. James, BC. Morice wrote several books including, The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia and developed the first Athapaskan-Dakelh language dictionary. The historic Catholic church, Our Lady of Good Hope, with Morice’s small printing press cabin behind it, remains a prominent landmark at Fort St. James.
Sir George Simpson
Sir George Simpson, served the Hudson’s Bay Company as a Governor of the Northern Department from 1821-26, and then as Governor-in-Chief until his death in 1860. He made a celebrated visit to Fort St. James in 1828, an event recalled a hundred years later at a commemorative pageant held at Fort St James in September 1928. At that time the HSMBC plaque commemorating Simpson was also unveiled on a monument near the confluence of the Simpson and Vermilion Rivers along Highway 93/95 in Kootenay National Park.