This weekend marks the 38th Annual Kamloopa Pow Wow at the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Pow Wow Grounds in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc (formerly known as the Kamloops Indian Band) is a celebration and a commitment to “promote & ensure the physical, mental, emotional & spiritual well-being of First Nations individuals, families & communities.”
The Tk’emlúps region has been the home of the Tk’emlúpsemc, “people of the confluence” [of the North Thompson River and South Thompson River] for centuries. The area has long been the congruence of major trade routes and traffic, and thus considered a place of great economic significance. Europeans settled the area, naming it Kamloops and Fort Kamloop was one of the main posts of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
In 2012, the then-named Kamloops Indian Band, received official confirmation from Ottawa that it would be further known by its traditional name, Tk’emlups te SecwÉpemc. Kamloops is the English translation of the Shuswap word Tk’emlúps, which means “where the rivers meet.”
Traditionally the Secwe̓pemc, an Interior-Salish nation of 32 tribal bands with four Secwepemc language dialects, were stewards of a large expanse of BC’s interior from the Columbia River valley along the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and south to the Arrow Lakes.
The Secwe̓pemc were self-sufficient and self-governing making the most of the land pre-contact via fishing, gathering (roots and berries), and hunting. The bands were united by a common language and similar culture and belief system while also being independent.
Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Chief Louis Clexlixqqen, Petit Louis or Hli Kleh Kan in particular is acknowledged as a powerful force in the development of the Kamloops region. Chief for 60 years from from 1855 until his death in 1915, Hli Kleh Kan went to the Canadian capital of Ottawa to negotiate for more land for his people on several occasions and even traveled to England to plead his people’s case to Queen Victoria.
As with other indigenous communities in Canada, settler colonialism marked the Tk’emlúpsemc. They were divided into 17 distinct groups with their own designated parcels of land in 1862 under Governor James Douglas who also established Kamloops Indian Reserve No. 1. An 1862 smallpox epidemic decimated their numbers.
Today the the Secwepemc Nation encompasses the 17 remaining bands and three Secwepemc language dialects, of which Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc is one of the largest.
Kamloops Pow Wow Videos
Attention Pow Wow organizers:
You can also update your information on our pow wow email list. By adding your email, you’ll enable us to contact you on select pow wow updates & announcements. We will only send a few emails each year, and it will only be used by our internal pow wow team. Add your email for the pow wow email list here: http://eepurl.com/bOY8ir
If you are not a pow wow organizer, please be sure to send them this article.