Preparations Underway for Day of Sucwentwecw 2021

Posted On Friday February 26, 2021

This year’s Day of Sucwentwecw celebration may need to be different due to the pandemic, but it will move forward with the help of two Arthur Hatton elementary classes.

Sucwentwecw, the Secwepemctsin word for acknowledging one another, is an initiative that recognizes and celebrates the Secwepemc people and the other Aboriginal people residing in the Secwepemc-úlecw.

The event, held on April 7 each year, is designed for students to share their learning, and to participate in reconciliation with Aboriginal people through respect and acknowledgement.

Before the pandemic, schools in the district would invite an Elder, Knowledge Keeper or representative from one of the local bands in the Secwepemc-úlecw to be witness and welcomed.

This year, the Aboriginal Education Department is gathering video messages and resources for schools and teachers. Two videos will include Arthur Hatton students, dancing, drumming and singing ‘The Welcome Song’ and demonstrating their dance.

Bernice Jensen, SD73 cultural coordinator with the Kamloops Indian Friendship Society, is working with them to practice for the video, which will be filmed next week.

“They are so excited to be doing this,” she said. “They know that what they are doing will be seen by the whole district.”

The Secwépemc People, known by non-natives as the Shuswap, are a Nation of 17 bands in the south-central part of the province of British Columbia. The Kamloops-Thompson School District is in the territory of 7 Secwepemc bands.

These are the Sexqueltqun (Adams Lake); Tk?emlu´ps te Secwépemc (Kamloops); Kenpesq’t (Shuswap); Quaaout (Little Shuswap); Neskonlith; Skeetchestn’ and Simpcw (North Thompson).

The idea for the Day of Sucwentwecw was proposed in 2012 by the Kamloops Thompson Teacher’s Association’s Social Justice Committee and endorsed by the Aboriginal Education Council. It was approved by the Board of Education in 2014, well before the province revised the curriculum to include the First People’s Principles of Learning. 

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