Secwepemc

Reclaiming land, sustaining culture

Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation is going to court to secure Aboriginal title to unceded traditional territory in interior B.C.

They will face vigorous opposition from well-resourced government and corporate lawyers. Will you stand with the Secwepemc?

 

 

One place at the heart of the area being reclaimed through the title case is Pipsell (Jacko Lake), a spiritual and historical site in close proximity to the Water World (the aquifer), the Sky World, the Prayer Tree, the Hunting Blind complex and associated grasslands, and habitats of species at risk such as the Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Burrowing Owl and American Badger. 

 

The Secwepemc have declared Pipsell a Cultural Heritage Site. In the Pipsell Declaration, the Secwepemc state that their “decision to preserve and sustain Pipsell is for the long-term benefit of all Canadians, ensuring the future enjoyment of this special place serves to further reconciliation.” That decision was made in accordance with the important principles of Secwepemc Law outlined in Oral History (Stseptekwll, or “Trout Children”) regarding reciprocal accountability to living beings on the land.

 

about this campaign

A title win would facilitate a new, healthier economic development and resource development, one that seeks to balance the ecology, people, land and businesses.  Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc land title is about building and maintaining long-term sustainable economic development in a healthy environment.

Ecological Protection with Indigenous Values

The Secwepemc have a process and way of managing the land and resources at maximum productivity that had kept the land in a near pristine state and benefited each succeeding generation for the last 12,000 years. The title case will facilitate the application of that established knowledge into the future management and development of the land and resources for future Secwepemc and settlers alike. 

A Vision for Community Sustainability

The Secwepemc are not “anti-development”. In fact, they have been mining, trading and conducting other business-type activities for thousands of years. They continue to own band businesses and are developing solid relationships with resource corporations.

““Before contact there was pristine land teeming with salmon and deer. This is when the Secwepemc followed the caretaker laws and relationship between humans and the land. In the Secwepemc language we are relatives to one another (Kwseltktenews). Among the Secwepemc every person has a right to clean air, clean water, properly managed lands for foods, spirituality, economic enterprises."

-Robert Simon, community member

CAMPAIGN NEWS

Our Vision? A Country Where Democracy Thrives with Honoured Indigenous Rights

RAVEN’s vision is a country where constitutional democracy is flourishing because Indigenous laws, rights and stewardship values are honoured. We are spotlighting some of our favourite programs aimed at exploring, honouring and understanding Indigenous laws…

Secwepemc win motion for elders to give oral history evidence as a group

photo by Paul David Shea/courtesy of Photographers Without Borders We congratulate Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation on setting this important precedent even before the main hearing in their title case! In his decision, Justice Patrice Abrioux…

Declaration of Support for the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation

RAVEN is honoured to express our utmost support to Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation in their exercise of Free, Prior and Informed Consent with regards to the proposed Ajax mine project. By withdrawing Free, Prior and…

The Secwepemc Nation is an Indigenous group that occupies the Secwepemc traditional territory in southern Interior B.C. The Secwepemc language is part of the Interior Salish group of languages. 

The Stk‘emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (pronounced ste-kem-LUP-sem t’ suh-WEP-muhc, “people of the confluence”) is a governance division of the Secwepemc Nation, situated in the Secwepemc traditional territory around the confluence of the two Thompson Rivers and Kamloops Lake. It comprises two groups, Skeetchestn and Tk’emlups, known as the Stk‘emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN).

SSN is a progressive community committed to attaining self-government and independence through education and economic development. The Nation won a Community Economic Developer of the Year award in 2008 for creating 200 jobs and generating $200 million in regional economic activity, all while strengthening their community with childcare, education, and healthcare facilities. A Secwepemc-owned construction company builds homes to Secwepemc traditional design using an abundance of reclaimed timber from the Pine Beetle infestation. SSN currently has approximately 1,000 members living on and off its 33,000-acre (130 km2) reserve.

SecwepemcRainbowWed

 

Yecweminem – Responsibility for the land

 

The Secwepemc determination to pursue title to their land in court is grounded in Secwepemc Indigenous law and the concept of yecweminem —   the obligation to care for  and protect land, water and sky worlds within Secwepemc territory. 

 

 

“Getting out on the land helps bring our children back. Without the land, we are disconnected.”

 

–  Youth from Skeetchestn community




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Pushing back against mining giants

 

For decades, unwanted and polluting development projects on their territory have deprived the Secwepemc of full enjoyment of their lands. The Ajax open-pit gold and copper mine, proposed to be built at Pipsell, is the latest project to threaten the culturally significant site.

 

It is unthinkable that such a profoundly sacred place for the Secwepemc people should ever be dewatered and filled with waste rock and tailings, as the Ajax proposal would have it. Although the Polish-owned Ajax mine was rejected after environmental assessment, Ajax holds mineral rights to the land and intends to reapply. 

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Secwepemc Vision

 

Mining, roads, settlement, and ranching have deprived the Secwepemc of the enjoyment of their lands. In many places, development has destroyed or damaged the land’s ability to provide for the Secwepemc, or to be used in accordance with Secwepemc culture.  

 

The Secwepemc are determined to restore the land to a state of balance, and maintain their traditional and contemporary spiritual practices on the land in the locations marked by their ancestors. Their vision for their land is a healthy ecology supporting a thriving Secwepemc culture and a robust Indigenous economy that contributes to the whole Kamloops region.