Secwepemcúlecw monthly newsletter

Weyt-kp xwexwéytep,

We’ve just ended Pellc7ell7ullcwtén (November), the month where the people would begin entering pit houses for the winter. We are now in Pell-tetéq̓em (December), the cross-over month where the days begin getting longer after the winter solstice on Dec. 21.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Secwepemctsín language conference hosted in “Kamloops.” It was three days full of fluent Secwepemctsín, and although I could not understand each word spoken, I felt the energy and emotion coming from each of the speakers.

I got to attend with both of my grandparents and my Kyé7e (Grandmother), who is a fluent Secwépemc speaker, translated for me throughout the conference. She even helped play a translation game where we won first place!

It was truly healing to be surrounded by people from each Secwépemc community who were all gathered to learn and celebrate the language.

Later in the month, the IndigiNews team held a gathering at Wildfires Bookshop in “New Westminster” where we screened Mining the Sacred, a documentary by Brandi Morin that was co-produced by IndigiNews, Ricochet Media and The Real News Network.

It was a great night of mingling and laughter. Elder Dorothy Visser incorporated culture into the night by giving everyone an opportunity to smudge. Afterwards, she opened the floor for people to speak on anything they felt called to.

The views in Williams Lake First Nation

Story Highlights

Three employees with Sugar Cane Archaeology delved into the cultural protocols they practice while utilizing Indigenous knowledge in the field.

WLFN-owned company brings a decolonial lens to archaeology: ‘We need Indigenous knowledge

The new Sweláps Market incorporates Secwépemc language and culture while providing a convenient food option for the community

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc celebrates grand opening of on-reserve grocery store: ‘a source of pride

Events to look forward to in Secwepemcúlecw

Dec. 7

Meet and Greet with Secwépemc Reporters. Come out and meet me and Aaron Hemens at the Kekuli Cafe in “Kamloops” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m!

Dec. 9

A comeUNITY Event-See the Witness Blanket and special guest Kúkwpi7 Fred Robbins who will provide personal experiences of his time at residential “school.” After spending time at the art installation with Robbins, there will be Listening Circles facilitated by Margaret-Anne Enders and Aubrey Jackson. Tickets are $10 on a sliding scale, please register by Dec. 6 at

The Witness Blanket

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Williams Lake was chosen as the host of The Witness Blanket, a nationally recognized, large-scale art installation. Since the original Witness Blanket was exhibited in 2015, replicas of the installation have toured across the country.

The art installation features hundreds of reclaimed items, including braids of hair, dreamcatchers, and baby moccasins, collected from cultural organizations, residential “schools” and other colonial institutions across 77 communities in “Canada.”

Artist Carey Newman, whose traditional name is Hayalthkin'geme, is from the Kwakwaka’wakw and Sto:lo nations on his father’s side and has English, Irish and Scottish ancestry on his mother’s side.

Newman explains on the Witness Blanket website, the items in the Witness Blanket detail the experiences of residential “school” survivors and states that “together they provide a glimpse into the trauma that colonialism sends rippling through generations. Some of them are heart wrenching. Some of them are courageous. All of them speak to the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples and cultures.”

The Witness Blanket is on display until Jan. 8, 2024 at 1250 Western Avenue, TRU Williams Lake

Hours of viewing:

Mon.-Thurs. 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Fri. 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Sat. 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Sun. 12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Have an event or news item to share about Secwepemcúlecw? Anything else you’d like me to share here? Let me know in a reply to this email.

I look forward to immersing myself in all areas of Secwepemcúl’ecw and showcasing the beauty of the culture, people and lands in future monthly newsletters.

Yecwementsútep, Dionne

Dionne Phillips, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wren