The Plateau people have a very low population; very rare to find in Canada. Information about these people is very sparse and hard to find; nothing significant was known about these people until the 1800s . These people lived in plateau regions of Canada, hence the name “Plateau people.” Their location of origination is still a mystery, but some believe they came from the Subarctic or South America (Aztecs or Spanish). There are 2 main groups of language speakers amongst the Plateau people: Athapaskan speakers and Salish Speakers. These 2 language groups would keep to themselves and generally would not collaborate.
There were 3 rivers found where the Plateau people lived: Thompson, Mckenzie, and Fraser.
Plateau people were very fine deer hunters. They also fished, but wasn’t as important as deer hunting. In contrast to most Aboriginal groups, the Plateau people encouraged the arrival of white people (European); demonstrated great hospitality to them. Plateau society is completely egalitarian (totally equal).
In Plateau society, there was a Salmon Headman, Housing Headman, and Deer Headman. All these represent the bureaucracy in which the Plateau people lived by.
These people were nomadic during the summer, in that they moved around quite frequently. They followed where the game went. However, in the winter, they had permanent settlement. Plateau society had a strict division of labour in genders. Similarly to many other Aboriginal groups, the men did the hunting and the women did all the household work.
The Plateau people hunted quite a bit; they are professional hunters. Not only deers, but they also hunt bears and use
the fur from the bear for clothing.
The land in Plateau society is mutual property except for fishing works. Those sites are exclusion to certain groups of people.
Due to the geographical location of the Plateau people, food wasn’t of abundance, and thus it was very essential and sharing food was an important aspect of Plateau culture.
The Plateau people lived in pit houses (Salishan roots), which were permanent residence during the winter time. They used ladders to access their homes, and it kept the temperature warm during winter times. In the summer, tipis were used when traveling. Their clothing were mostly comprised of animal skin.
One of the most famous Plateau dances was the Powpow. The Plateau people had an animist religion. They believed there was no separation between daily life and religion. They also received songs while they dream; dreaming was very significant in this culture. They were mainly all Christians before, but the old religion is slowly coming back.
Plateau people in the US have an important winter dance done by only the Okanagan people.