A group of Splatsin Elders have shared their knowledge about local landmarks near Enderby that are significant to the community.
It’s part of Splatsin’s celebration of their rich culture and history for National Indigenous Peoples Day Sunday, June 21.
“In celebration of over 10,000 years, our old ones share our knowledge of our connection to our lands that has been passed on from one generation to the next generation,” said Kukpi7 (Chief) Wayne Christian. “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.”
One Elder, Magca (Moon) Marion Lee, recounts a story told to her by her grandparents about the site of the last battle the Splatsin fought.
“This [Quilakwa Mountain, meaning ‘poor little mountain’] is where we had our last war which was with the Kootenays,” she said. “One of our runners spotted them up on the hill and then snuck down to our field and told our warriors.”
Another Elder, Gerald Williams, reflects on the namesake behind Sek’maws (Sicamous), which means “waist” due to its geographical similarities (on a map) to a person’s waist.
“Sek’maws is a very important village site and fishing site for the Splatsin people,” said 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), Setetkwa (river), the Shuswap River, St. Mary’s Church, and Xatewtalc (Eagle Rock).
Splatsin 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 is celebrated across Canada and was first introduced in 1996 to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.