Beyond Begbie is a new short film that explores Indigenous perspectives on the mountain and its place in the cultural dialogue.
Since time immemorial, the Sn̓ʕay̓čkstx (Sinixt) lived along the Columbia River and its tributaries, their territory spanning from northeastern Washington State to Revelstoke, B.C.
When settlers came to Revelstoke in 1885, they did not recognize the first people and proceeded to settle as if they were the first to discover it. What followed was the naming of mountains, rivers, and passes in their custom, after themselves. In the latter part of the 1800s, the majority of the Sinixt were progressively pushed off their land with many ending up in the US part of their territory, being absorbed into the Colville Reservation in Washington State.
When settlers came to Revelstoke in 1885, they did not recognize the first people and proceeded to settle as if they were the first to discover it.
Many others fled to the Okanagan Valley. In 1956 the Canadian government declared the Sinixt extinct even though hundreds of descendants still lived north of the border. After many years of hard-fought legal battles, the declaration of extinction was revoked in April 2021 by the Supreme Court of Canada as part of the Desautel decision.
Despite this, the powder mecca of Revelstoke is still surrounded by peaks and mountain passes named after white men who had little to no regard for the preceding history of the area at the expense of Indigenous heritage.
Towering over the Revelstoke Valley, Mount Begbie has inspired an entire community. It is highlighted in the logos and names of local businesses, featured heavily in artists’ works, and photographed by every visiting tourist.
While this peak has created an entire contemporary culture in Revelstoke, its name and story only represent colonial history, with no reference to the Indigenous heritage of this land.
Is it the outdoor community’s responsibility to help change this? The film Beyond Begbie, directed by Zoya Lynch, poses this and other crucial questions.
Following its successful theatrical tour across North America, including its premiere at Banff Mountain Book & Film Festival, Beyond Begbie will now be available on Airtime Streaming, with all profits from the initial release week going to the Inchelium Language and Culture Association.
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