Okanagan Explosion

History of Missionaries in the Okanagan Valley


In 1855 Missionaries were sent to convert the Yakama Indians to Catholicism. Shortly after they arrived there was a two year long Cayuse war. A dozen white settlers were massacred by the Cayuse tribe. Father Pandosy and his party arrived in Esquimalt in the summer of 1858 and arrived in the Okanagan in 1859. Pandosy created the first non-native settlement in the Okanagan in 1860. Mission Creek was their permanent site. His Mission settlement had a church, school, and farm. Father Pandosy and Father Richard ministered to the natives and Europeans for over 30 years until Pandosy's death in 1891.

Role of the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trial

After the Fur trade dwindled in 1848, the trail was still used by early missionaries, gold miners, ranchers, and settlers for another 50 years. The brigade trail was the first major trading/transportation route in the Okanagan. Father Pandosy and his party used the Fur Brigade Trail to get to Kelowna. It was a faster safer transportation route rather than just going through each state/province.

Father Pandosy

Early History

At the age of 23 Father Pandosy decided to journey to BC to become a missionary. He met and worked with numerous native society's as far south as Walla Walla and as far north as Prince George. The Catholic church wanted a presence in the new land because the protestant church was already well established in the mid 1850's, particularly around the oregon trail. The catholic church asked france if they had any priests to send over. Pandosy and a small group of oblates of Mary immaculate (OMI), left maseilles in 1847 when Pandosy was only 24.

Reasons for Settlement in the Okanagan Valley

Pandosy and his group of missionaries were sent to the Oregon area to find a place to settle. When they came across the Okanagan area Father saw lots of potential. They arrived in the fall of 1859 and found a place to settle. Once spring hit it got too marshy, so they went to look for better land. A few miles south by Mission creek they found a broad sweep of flat land, and they made that they're permanent site.

Early Accomplishments

When the oblate's arrived in the Oregon territory, Father Pandosy was ordained and became Father Charles Marie Pandosy, OMI. The first recorded Indian baptism in the area of present day Ellensburg was preformed by Pandosy on November 30, 1847. As he was passing through Walla Walla on his way to the Oregon territory, he served as an interpreter at a council meeting held in May 1855, where the Yakama Indians and other Indian bands signed treaties with the American government.

Accomplishments in the Okanagan Valley

He established the first non-native settlement in the Okanagan Valley in 1859. Father settled along the mission creek area. He built a school, chapel, and a church house. Pandosy worked and lived among the Yakama tribe where he learned their language and taught them to plant and harvest, then baptized them into his church.

Legacy Today

In 1896, Okanagan mission was sold to father Eumelin, who ran the mission until 1902. Since Pandosy's death has achieved the status of folk hero, a street in Kelowna and a
winery are named after him, and the site of the old immaculate conception mission is commonly referred to as the Father Pandosy Mission.

Driving Question

Father Pandosy had a huge impact on the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley. He was a missionary that was sent over to the Oregon area to find a place to settle and he chose Kelowna. Pandosy made the first non-native settlement. In his settlement he built a school, a chapel and a house. He also learned the Yakama Indian tribes language, then baptized them into his church. Pandosys settlement was such a huge success that after he died it was still carried on for many many years. The buildings in his settlement were preserved and still exist today. Father Pandosy basically started a hard working society in the Okanagan Valley that evolved into what it is today.

Interesting Facts

-Was the first non-native settler in the Okanagan.

- His full name is Charles John Felix Adolph Pandosy.

-He founded the Okanagan Mission and it was the first permanent white settlement in British Columbia.