Sek’maws (Sicamous), in Secwepemctsin language means “waist,” referring to the channel that connects Shuswap and Mara lakes. (File photo)

Sek’maws (Sicamous), in Secwepemctsin language means “waist,” referring to the channel that connects Shuswap and Mara lakes. (File photo)

Splatsin elders share knowledge of local landmarks to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day

Knowledge passed down through generations highlight connection to the land

Splatsin “river drivers”once rode logs along the Setetkwa (Shuswap River), making sure the timber made it to the former Malpass Sawmill in Enderby for processing.

The river is one of the most important features in Splatsin territory, providing transportation, fishing, recreation and trade routes, writes Jean Brown, one of several Splatsin elders who have shared their knowledge about the history of local landmarks in celebration of National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21.

“In the 1950s, my dad, Willie Thomas, drove a logging truck for the Malpass Logging and Sawmill Company in Enderby,” writes Brown. “He drove from the Kingfisher logging site to his residence where the logs were dumped into the Shuswap River. At the time, Spallumcheen (Splatsin) residences had no physical addresses.”

Available to read on the Splatsin band website, this repository of knowledge focuses on several landmarks within Secwepmec Territory.

“What needs to be remembered was the difference in lifestyles, the untamed wilderness with no roads only trails. A person really needed to know a lot of names, places, how far from one point to the next to help with their water, food, travel, camping, habitat, livelihood and community safety,” prefaces Elder Julianna Alexander nuxnuxskaxa ctse’e7i7el (Woman Fawn).

Read more: Canoe Beach Cafe wants help identifying those responsible for vandalism

Read more: Sixty-six students from across Shuswap attend ceremony at Splatsin Centre

Elder Gerald Williams shares the history of Sek’maws (Sicamous) which, in Secwepemctsin language, means “waist,” referring to the channel that connects Shuswap and Mara lakes.

“Sek’maws is a very important village site and fishing site for the Splatsin people,” writes Williams. “Splatsin people were nomadic and made their yearly seasonal rounds, which included living in winter dwellings, called Kekulis. Sek’maws is part of the eastern border of the Splatsin Territory.”

Other landmarks discussed by elders include Swa7wilc (Shuswap Falls), St. Mary’s Church, Xatewtalc (Eagle Rock) and Quilakwa Mountain, the site of the last battle fought by the Splatsin against the Kootenays, shares Magca, Elder Marion Lee.

Kukpi7 (Chief) Wayne Christian explains the stories shared by elders, passed down through the generations, highlight the Splatsin’s connection to the land.

“Our oral traditions marks in the territory who we are as a people it is written in the land as the land represents the ashes of our ancestors,” said Christian in a June 19 release.

The First Nation has also organized a scavenger hunt to encourage the community to explore their territory, and a virtual collage-making session to celebrate their culture.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was introduced in 1996 to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Aboriginal Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

(File photo)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate markets not slowing down

Residential sales in the Central, North Okanagan and Shuswap beat last year’s sales by 71 per cent

(Google Maps)
UPDATE: COVID-19 case confirmed at Mar Jok, Rutland Senior Secondary

School District 23 said the individual is now self-isolating

Residents should run their taps until cold before using their water. (Black Press file photo)
Westside water quality advisory back on tap

Leak repair at Westshore Estates affecting some properties, again

Bobcat spotted in Rutland on Dec. 2, 2020. (Contributed)
Rutland resident warns community to keep eye on pets after spotting bobcat

The bobcat was spotted on Fitzpatrick Street on Dec. 2, 2020

UBCO Master of Social Work Graduate Alix Longland is reaching out to the local refugee community alongside the Family Resource Centre. (Contributed)
Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Grinch stolen from Penticton home is ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Revelstoke COVID-19 cluster linked to non-essential travel: Horgan

There have been 46 cases of COVID-19 in the community

Students at Lavington Elementary crammed a car full of non-perishables for those in the community facing food insecurity. Spearheaded by teacher January Peebles (left), the donations were picked up by Give LUCK founder Myrika Godard, who works to connect donors with donees in the North Okanagan. (Give LUCK photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read