The discovery of gold in the Fraser River and the Cariboo brought a rapid influx of prospectors, merchants, pioneers and other colourful figures to BC in the 1860s. They came from around the world, arriving from as far away as China. It was a time of rapid economic expansion; sleepy hamlets became bustling cities, and new roads, railways and steamships were constructed to carry the extra load.
Boomtowns were born and legends made, but not all experienced good fortune. The Aboriginal peoples lost most of their ancestral lands and, in 1876, First Nations populations were made subject to the federal Indian Act, which regulated every aspect of their lives.