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Indigenous Culture

The word Kamloops comes from the Secwepemc word Tk’emlúps, meaning "where the rivers meet" and refers to the convergence of the North and South Thompson rivers.

 

The Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc People 

The Tk‘emlúpsemc, ‘the people of the confluence’, now known as the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc are members of the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples of British Columbia. 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. 

Today Tk’emlups Te Secwepemc is one of the 17 bands in the Secwepemc Nation. Prior to European settlement, the Secwepemc lived along the rivers and lakes during the winter months. While living a semi-nomadic lifestyle during the spring and summer moving constantly for resources.

 

The Secwepemc Museum

This is the ultimate place to gain insight into the rich history of the Secwepemc people. Storytelling is a significant aspect of the Secwepemc people's way of life. Come to get immersed in legends and tales passed down from generation to generation. The Secwepemc Museum displays incorporate the oral history and legends of the Secwepemc people, along with historical photographs, illustrations, and artifacts.

 

Secwepemc heritage park

The heritage park is a 4-hectare park for our museum guests to enjoy. Various trails lead our guests through our ethnobotanical gardens which have indigenous plants utilized by the Secwepemc. As well as replicas of our winter homes known as a pit house, a summer tulle mat lodge, as well as the archaeological remains of a 2000 year old winter village.

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The Kamloopa Powwow

The annual Kamloopa Powwow is one of the largest gatherings of Indigenous culture in Western Canada celebrating the heritage of the province’s Secwepemc people. Over one thousand dancers will gather to celebrate the Secwepemc people’s heritage through storytelling, song, and dance in traditional regalia.

The Powwow was started by the Shuswap Brothers & Sisters Society in 1980 and attracts visitors from around the world. It's a full range of events highlight the rich culture and life of our Indigenous people.

The Kamloopa Powwow is held annually over the August long weekend.  This major gathering stands for encouragement, rejuvenation, and understanding of Indigenous cultures and welcomes over 20,000 spectators throughout the weekend.

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Experience Kamloops