Erosion

The Glory That is Paul Terbasket’s Apricot Tree

In 1915, Paul Terbasket of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band was jailed for disobeying a foolish court order and watering his orchard. One apricot tree remains.

His land is leased out to a vineyard now. One apricot tree remains of an indigenous orcharding industry in Canada.

The water was granted to an orchard development company, which went bankrupt before Paul tried to save his trees — with water that was running past his house and (it is called Blind Creek, after all) disappeared into the ground. It is likely that Paul was taught the craft of raising fruit trees by the very man who stole the bulk of his land, Frances Xavier Richter. However it worked out, it’s not his orchard that is using the water in the Similkameen today, but a company producing the very alcohol that was such a problem to his people over the span of Canadian dominion here. One apricot tree remains. My friends in the Similkameen speak of it with awe. It’s like the banyan tree that the Buddha sat under when he achieved enlightenment.

6 replies »

    • Thanks! I grew up on Paul’s land, without knowing this story (or that it was Paul’s land.) It is a debt that is mine to repay.

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  1. I appreciate and am grateful for your talents and interests in making this a better world through your writing and actions…to expose truth and possibilities…I am a proud Syilx citizen and Paul of whom you speak is my great grandfather and this land and history is that of our family and peoples..there .young school time neighbor 🙂

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    • Hi, Pauline. Thanks! I am proud of you, too, for all you’ve accomplished. I’m trying to meet the high bar you’ve set. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized more and more my truth: I am of the Similkameen and am here to speak for her, however I can manage. Thanks for your support as I learn to speak clearly what I hear the land saying. It’s a long journey, but, one step at a time, a great one, and there is, of course, the scent of yarrow in the spring time.

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