The Secwepemc (or Shuswap) People and Their Culture

Traditional Secwepemc or Shuswap culture is still very much alive today and efforts are being made to ensure it stays that way. Continue reading to learn about the Secwepemc peoples.

Who are the Secwepemc?

The Secwepemc Nation are a group of approximately 7,000 people from 17 bands that form three Tribal Councils: the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, which includes Adams Lake Indian Band, Bonaparte Indian Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, Shuswap Indian Band, North Thompson River First Nation, Deadman’s Creek Indian Band, Splatsin First Nation, Kamloops Indian Band, and Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band; the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, which includes Canim Lake Band, Canoe Creek Indian Band, Soda Creek Indian Band, and Williams Lake Indian Band; and the Lillooet Tribal Council, which includes Bridge River Indian Band, Cayoose Creek Indian Band, Fountain Band, Pavilion Indian Band, and Seton Lake Band.

Their 180,000 sq km traditional territory has been home to the Secwepemc peoples for more than 12,000 years. It spans a large area of interior British Columbia: from the Columbia River valley aside the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and then south to the Arrow Lakes. Today, many Shuswap villages are located near their territorial lakes, in their river valleys, and along the Fraser River. Quaaout Lodge and Spa at Talking Rock Golf Resort resides on these lands.

The original land had a diverse environment and the Indian reserve remains scenic today; its stunning flora and fauna are a delight to photograph and to experience, and it is a fishing destination and a refuge to an abundance of wildlife thanks to limitations on hunting.

Secwepemc Language

The Secwepemc peoples are proud of the culture and their language: Secwepemctsin, which is an important part of their heritage and their way of life. Their 43-letter alphabet was based on the English alphabet, but the letter pronunciation is not the same. Unfortunately, their language is at risk of being endangered due to Elder loss and the travesty of the residential school system. As many young people – and residential school survivors – do not speak Secwepemctsin, efforts are being made to ensure their language is preserved and transferred down to others. Students at Neqweyqwelsten School attend Secwepemctsin classes, which infuse traditional language and culture into everyday activities. Post-secondary students at Thompson River University (TRU) in British Columbia, Canada, also have the opportunity to take Secwepemc language classes. TRU offers several public resources on their website.

The Chief and Council of the Little Shuswap Lake Band welcome visitors. We would love to share our culture with you! Contact us today to book your stay or spa service. We look forward to welcoming you!