Shuswap Lake

Feature Type:Lake - Inland body of standing water.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Source of the South Thompson River, between Revelstoke and Kamloops, Kamloops Division Yale Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°57'00''N, 119°10'10''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 82L/14
Related Maps: 82L/13

Origin Notes and History:

Shuswap Lake adopted in the 4th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 30 June 1902, as spelled on Arrowsmith's 1859 map. See also Shuswap River.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Spelled "Schewhap Lake" on Arrowsmith's 1832 map; spelled "Shoushwap Lake" on Arrowsmith's 1837 map.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Length of shoreline = 199 miles; approximate area = 123 square miles. The ancient name [not recorded here] is said to mean 'spider' or 'insect' because the lake's arms resemble a splayed insect.

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.

From Suxwa'pmux, the name of the Interior Salish band which inhabit the area. Their name was spelt in a variety of ways by the early fur-traders: "She Whaps," "Shewhoppes," "Shoo-Schwawps" [note: the preferred modern spelling is Secwepemc, pronounced seWEP-mek]. Shuswap Lake was formerly known as "Great Shuswap Lake" in contradistinction to Little Shuswap Lake to the west of it. Unfortunately we have no indication of the origin of the name Shuswap.

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; 1001 British Columbia Place Names; Discovery Press, Vancouver 1969, 1970, 1973.

Shuswap: various features between Kamloops and Revelstoke. "Name of the Interior Salish tribe which controlled the Fraser River Valley from Lillooet to Alexandria and the territory eastward to the Rodky mountains; said to mean 'mankind'." (citing J.J.Morse, Kamloops: A Condensed History; Kamloops Museum Association.) "The first whites who reached the country from the south named the tribe Shuswap, Shuswap or Shouswhap. This term is a corruption of Suxwa´pmux or Sexwa´pmux, the name they apply to themselves, and by which they are known to all the neighbouring tribes of the interior Salish stock, to which they belong. It is said that some of the Cree also call them by this name. The Kootenai call them TlitqatEwu´mtLat, meaning 'no shirts' according to some, because the Shuswap bands who are neighbours of the Kootenai often wore robes without any shirts underneath. By the Carrier they are called OEtna and by the Chilcotin, 'OEnai, which in each case means 'foreigner'." (citing James Teit, Jesup North Pacific Expedition 1897-1902, vol 2, Pt VII, pp 449-50; published by Leiden, New York, 1908.) [see also: George M. Dawson, Notes on the Shuswap People...., published in Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, vol IX, 1891, and in Geological Survey of Canada Annual Report Vol VII, 1894, p.404B.]

Source: Provincial Archives' Place Names File (the "Harvey File") compiled 1945-1950 by A.G. Harvey from various sources, with subsequent additions

Named after the Shuswap Indians, an Interior Salish band who ranged from west of the Fraser River east to the Columbia River, and from north of McBride to south of Kamloops. Shuswap may be derived from sixwt, meaning 'downriver'.

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997