Deadman Valley Hoodoos – 100202
A hoodoo is a rock formation which is shaped over hundreds of years by the forces of erosion. The Deadman hoodoos are carved into banks of rock and clay conglomerate. Some parts of the hoodoos are harder than others and these hard parts last longer. The tops of the Hoodoos of the Deadman Valley are the hardest parts and they protect the soft rock below from wearing away.
This area of the Deadman Valley is a traditional gathering place of the people of the Shuswap (Sequa’pmug or Secwepemc) First Nation and the hoodoos are described in legends from the age of shamans and transformer incantations. A shaman was a person of power who would interact with both the physical world and the spiritual, usually acting as a sort of intermediary between the two. The shaman was often responsible for both the physical and spiritual health of people.
Centuries ago, when the Deadman Creek served as a passageway to and from the north, the residents of the valley were vulnerable to invading warriors from the north. Elders gathered to plan a strategy of nightly patrol and it was not long before these preparations paid off. Though casualties on both sides were high, four of the invading warriors were captured and taken to the elders. Shamed by their capture, the four invaders agreed to deliver a message to their home territory that the people of the valley wanted peace and would welcome all those who came in peace.
A shaman then spoke while the bonds on the young warriors were being cut loose. He looked skyward and told the four warriors that if they left the valley without looking back they would return to their villages safely.
However, if they disobeyed the rule, they would be turned to stone. The four warriors left in haste. As they crossed the valley, one of them looked over his shoulder. True to the threat of the shaman, the four warriors of yesteryear became the four hoodoos. Legends such as this help to preserve the history and culture of the First Nations people and are passed through the generations.
Although this legend speaks of four hoodoos, there are actually five. Visible when the light touches the pinnacles and craggy rock faces from just the right angle, the Hoodoos of the Deadman Valley rise into view. These spectacular formations are one of the finest examples of hoodoos that can be seen from a public roadway in British Columbia.