Discover Harrison Mills, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty
Harrison Mills, British Columbia, is a charming community nestled in the District of Kent, west of Agassiz. Formerly known as Carnarvon and Harrison River, this agricultural farming and tourism-based community is part of the Fraser Valley Regional District. Harrison Mills is also home to the British Columbia Heritage Kilby Museum and Campground, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
The Rich First Nations History of Harrison Mills, British Columbia
Harrison Bay, located near Harrison Mills, is the ancestral home of the Scowlitz (Scaulits) and the Sts'Ailes or Chehalis people. The Scowlitz, who are Halqemeylem-speaking and part of the Sto:lo cultural group, had their main reserve on the bay's western shore, across from Harrison Mills. The Sts'Ailes, whose name means "beating heart," had their reserve on the north side of the bay along the lower Harrison River and around the river's confluence with its tributary, the Chehalis.
Both the Scowlitz and Chehalis peoples were known for their large and intricately-carved longhouse villages, which have since been destroyed. An archaeological site on the Harrison Mills side of the bay, the Scowlitz Mounds, also known as the Fraser Valley Pyramids, is currently under investigation by Simon Fraser University and the Scowlitz First Nation. This site represents an unusual period in the anthropological and cultural history of the Fraser Valley.
Interestingly, the dialect spoken by the Sts'Ailes includes the word sesqac, which is the source of the English word "sasquatch". The vicinity of Harrison Bay, Harrison Mills, and the lower Harrison River is reputed to have the greatest number and density of sasquatch sightings worldwide. The sasquatch is the emblem of the Chehalis First Nation and is sacred in Sts'Ailes culture.
The opening of Fort Langley in 1827 downriver began changing the traditional patterns of life for the Scowlitz and Chehalis by introducing new goods and ending raids by the Euclataws Kwakwaka'wakw (Southern Kwakiutl) of Cape Mudge and other northern coastal tribes.
The Settlement and Colonization of Harrison Mills, British Columbia
The Geography of Harrison Mills, British Columbia
Harrison Mills is situated on a floodplain at the western foot of Mount Woodside, at the outlet of Harrison Bay. This bay is a large, lake-like backwater of the Harrison River, located just before the river's confluence with the Fraser. The unique geographical location of Harrison Mills offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of British Columbia, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.