The Secwepemc People
The Shuswap or Secwepemc (pronounced suh-Wep-muhc) people occupy a vast territory of the interior of British Columbia. This traditional territory stretches from the Columbia River valley along the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and south to the Arrow Lakes. Most Secwepemc people live in the river valleys. The Tk'emlupsemc, the people of the confluence, now known as the Tk'emlups Indian Band (TIB), are members of the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples of British Columbia.
The word Kamloops is the English translation of the Shuswap word Tk'emlups, meaning 'where the rivers meet,' and for centuries has been the home of the Tk'emlupsemc, 'people of the confluence.' Today, the Tk'emlups Indian Band occupies six seperate reserves in the Interior Plateau, near Kamloops. Situated at Kamloops, and extends along the North River, east side, for about 6 miles and along the Thompson River to the east for about 12 miles more or less, running back to the mountains in both cases.
At one time, the Secwepemc people occupied one large Traditional territory covering approximately 145,000 square kilometers. In 1811, after European contact, the colonial government divided the Secwepemc people into 17 distinct groups with specific parcels of land designated to each.
The Kamloops Reserve land base was established in 1862 under the direction of Governor James Douglas. It is located east of the North Thompson River and north of the South Thompson River, adjacent to the City of Kamloops.
Tk'emlups has always occupied a place of great economic importance in our region. Traversed by two major waterways, traditional Tk'emlupsemc territory was the center of major traffic and trade routes. Due to the community's great economic and military strength, as well as their ancestor's pivotal role in the creation of peace accords, the Tk'emlupsemc were designated the Secwepemc7uwi, 'the real Shuswap'.
The Kamloopa Powwow
The Kamloopa Powwow is one of the most notable intercultural gatherings in all of North America. The Powwow begun by the Shuswap Brothers & Sisters Society in 1980, and attracts visitors from around the world. It's full range of events highlight the rich culture and life of our First Nations people.
The Kamloopa Powwow is held annually over the August long weekend. This major gathering stands for encouragement, rejuvenation and understanding of First Nations cultures and welcomes over 20,000 spectators throughout the weekend. General admission tickets are available for $10 per day; $20 weekend pass.
The Secwepemc Museum
This is the ultimate place to gain insight on the rich history of the Shuswap people. Storytelling is a significant aspect to the Shuswap people's way of life. Come get immersed in legends and tales passed down from generation to generation.
Visit the Heritage Park and go through the incredible 2000-year old Shuswap winter village and the summer pit houses, and be sure to visit the Ethnobotanical Gardens at the Heritage Park too!
The Secwepemc Museum displays incorporate the oral history and legends of the Secwepemc people, along with historical photographs, illustrations and artifacts.