Oliver's culture and history began thousands of years ago with the Okanagan First Nations. It includes the fur trade, cattle ranching, gold mining and fruit growing.
Present day Oliver is the result of an ambitious government irrigation and land development scheme originally designed to accommodate soldiers returning from the First World War. Successive waves of immigrants from Portugal and India have contributed to the strong agricultural economy and added to the rich multiculturalism of this community.
The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), one of seven member bands of the Okanagan Nation Alliance and recognized as a leader in economic development, is headquartered in Oliver. With reserve lands adjacent to the town, the OIB is an integral part of the community and operates a number of successful businesses such as the Nk'Mip Desert Canyon Golf Course. Look for First Nations pictographs at several sites in the area such as Vaseux Lake, see artifacts at the Oliver Museum and gain insight into the ways of these ancient people and their connection with the land at the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre, located 21km/13mi south of Oliver in Osoyoos.