Acknowledging the Kamloops-Thompson Day of Sucwentwécw 2024

Posted On Friday April 05, 2024

The Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education and the Aboriginal Education Council with representatives of seven Secwepemc First Nations and Métis Nations communities articulated the Cultural Identity Priority In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan. The purpose is to ensure that every student is welcomed, sees themselves in school and district environments, and feels cared for, and has a sense of belonging in schools.

Diane Jules, Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council and Trustee of the Kamloops-Thompson School Board, emphasized, “Historically, Aboriginal students have not had their histories, perspectives, cultural values, language and traditions acknowledged and celebrated in schools. Our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation is to ensure that Aboriginal students, families, and staff havetheir identities acknowledged and celebrated throughout classroom, school, and district learning opportunities.”

District Principal of Aboriginal Education, Mike Bowden explained, “The Day of Sucwentwécw is an example of a District-initiated learning opportunity to recognize and celebrate the history of the Secwepemc people and other Aboriginal people residing within the territory of the Shuswap Nation, ‘Secwepemcúl’ecw’. Sucwentwecw means acknowledging one another.”

Over the last few years, school teams have been encouraged to shift their focus and perspective from a typical assembly to a gathering (“splulk’w”), where more formal acknowledgements can be made to guests, Elders, and communities. A gathering (splulk’w) is a local traditional practice of celebration and custom and is more culturally relevant than the formal ‘assembly’ format typically practiced in public schools. Schools will be acknowledging Aboriginal people, worldviews, and perspectives by making the day learner-centred.  This is respectful of reconciliation, as well as recognizing the role that First Peoples Principles of Learning (FPPL) plays within our curriculum.

In collaboration with their respective First Nations communities, each school will have a welcome video from an Elder or representative from the Aboriginal community to be part of their gathering. During the event, school staff members will recognize and honour Secwepemcul’ecw and the First Peoples, on whose territories we live and work. 

Each school’s presentation will be unique to reflect the learning community and is supported by the District with a Day of Sucwentwécw resource package that includes a gathering guide, posters, a story, and gifts for guests. This year’s theme, “Our shared learning is embedded in memory, history and story through courage, wisdom and local Indigenous perspectives” is based on the First Peoples Principles of Learning and Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives.

Students across the District take time to visually depict this theme and submit their ideas for an annual poster contest. Ethan Evans’ poster was selected for this year. To read more about his background and rationale for his poster, go here.

Each year the Aboriginal Education Department highlights a children's book for schools to use that aligns with the chosen theme. This year, the book is called My Skwi7éýe, by Sandra Eustache-Shiel. This year’s story is My Skwi7éýe: How a Young Girl Finds Her One True Doll and Self,” written by Sandra Eustache-Shiel, a proud Simpcw woman.

Westsyde Secondary School - A Week of Day of Sucwentwecw Activities

On April 5, 2024, Principal Preymak and his staff organized a week of activities to engage students and staff in learning about Indigenous histories, perspectives, and values. The Day of Sucwentwecw activities will commence with Indigenous music played during the morning announcements throughout the week. On April 4th, a school-wide gathering will take place on the school field, featuring guest speaker Knowledge Keeper Jackie Jules and performances by Sage Hill Drummers and Dancers, as well as the WSS Spirit Drummers led by AEW Dayton Schadlich performing the Welcome song. WSS Student Leaders Daniel Smith, Chloe Anderson, and Maple Peel will also share insights on the significance of this year's theme. Following the gathering, Indigenous Teachings will be conducted in classrooms, including a lesson, involving a Medicine Wheel activity where students will explore the wheel's meanings and connect emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally to the world around them. This information will be used to create a GIANT school medicine wheel. On April 5th, the activities will continue with a hot dog BBQ on the school field accompanied by Indigenous music. Additionally, there will be a lacrosse game between students and teachers and a Scream and Run game where students will run as fast and far as they can while yelling using only one breath. In the classroom the staff and students will be watching a video featuring Kamloops' own Monique Smith reading her book titled "I Hope," followed by classroom discussions and the completion of the medicine wheel activity that was started on Thursday.

Students and staff were also offered the opportunity to participate in a cultural performance led by the Sage Hill Drum and Dance Group. This group started as the Sage Hills Singers formed in the winter of 2003 and have travelled to powwows throughout BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, California, Idaho and Washington. Their group consists of several different tribal affiliations: Stoney, Sioux, Blood, Shuswap, Carrier and Sto’lo First Nations. Sage Hills has released four (4) CDs that have been recognized by the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards and Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. 

Contact Us