Grant promotes Indigenous culture in the Shuswap

Project to enhance the knowledge of Secwépemc landmarks and culture in the Shuswap.

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Shelley Witzky, an Adams Lake Indian Band councillor, and Sutra Brett, with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, examine some of the preliminary models for the Secwépemc Landmarks and Trail Sign project. The first landmark will be placed near the wharf at Marine Park in Salmon Arm. Photo: Tracy Hughes/CSRD.

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A project to enhance the knowledge of Secwépemc landmarks and culture in the Shuswap is receiving $100,000 from the BC Rural Dividend Program.

The Secwépemc Landmarks and Trail Sign project will involve Secwépemc artists, elders and youth designing and installing sculptures, viewing portals and trailhead signs that showcase Secwepemc values and culture. With the grant funding approved, the project will now proceed to design and implementation.

A series of iconic landmark sculptures will be installed at key, highly visited areas of the Shuswap.

These will include Secwépemc names, culture and stories. A series of viewing portals would be installed to allow people to look through at specific historical locations and landmarks, with both the Secwépemc and English names.

The portals will allow visitors to ‘take a peek’ at specific sites and learn more about the history and culture of the area. Signposts, designed by Secwépemc artists, would also be placed at various trailhead locations in the region.

“This initiative is another way for Secwépemc to create more awareness of our presence within our traditional territory, “ Adams Lake Indian Band councillor Shelley Witzky said.

In August 2018, the CSRD Board unanimously authorized an application to the BC Rural Dividend Fund to support the Bands in the development and implementation of the Secwépemc Landmarks and Trail Sign Project.

The initiative is being spearheaded by the Adams Lake Indian Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, Splatsin and the Shuswap Trail Alliance, with support from Shuswap Tourism. In order to qualify for the Rural Dividend Grant, the three Bands agreed to contribute $30,000 for the first landmark to be placed at Marine Park in Salmon Arm. This project is part of the Secwépemc Cultural Tourism Initiative and will be guided by a joint committee of elders.

The project recognizes the growing interest in authentic Indigenous, trails-based destination tourism among visitors to the region and hopes to increase awareness of Secwépemc history and culture. It also supports the vision of creating a world-renowned trail system in the Shuswap and around BC.

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