Olivia De Brabandere recently joined the Shuswap Indian Band (SIB) staff this summer.

As the new hire for heritage and culture in the Columbia Valley, she began reading archives and listening and learning about the SIB’s history in the Columbia Valley.

De Brabandre said her new job is a “dream role”.

“I have a degree in archaeology, and then I went back to school to learn more about Canadian studies and Indigenous culture specifically, so in my role I’m allowed to do a lot of research and development projects.”

She indicated that the combination of responsibilities in this role was a perfect fit, which encouraged her to relocate to the valley this July from Ontario.

“It’s a really good mix of history and archaeology,” said De Brabandre, while emphasizing the importance of community revitalization.

De Brabandere recently began reading archived studies about historically important trade routes for the community with the support of her peers to learn more about the SIB’s roots in the community.

When asked if the information was new to her or if the SIB’s trading was familiar to her, De Brabandre remarked that it was “mostly new” information, and remained impressed by what she learned.

“I think the vastness and just the sheer amount of distances that everybody travelled for trade is quite a feat in itself. I know that’s kind of general but it really stood out to me. The Shuswap, in particular, travelled for what they needed, and they traded with pretty much everyone, which is pretty incredible.”