Kamloopa Powwow Photo Gallery

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All are welcome at the Annual Kamloopa Powwow on the first weekend of August at the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Powwow Grounds in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. Around a thousand dancers and many more spectators will be in Kamloops for the annual Kamloopa Powwow, one of the largest celebrations of First Nations’ culture and heritage in Western Canada! The Powwow is a spectacular expression of the Secwepemc people’s heritage and is a vibrant display of storytelling, song, and dance in traditional regalia.

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History of the Kamloops Indian Band (Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc)

The Kamloops Indian Band, also known as the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, is one of the largest of the 17 groups into which the Secwepemc (Shuswap) nation was divided when the Colony of British Columbia established an Indian reserve system in the 1860s. The Kamloops Indian Band is a First Nations government within the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council,[1] which represents ten of the seventeen Secwepemc band governments, all in the southern Central Interior region, spanning the Thompson and Shuswap districts.

The Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc (TteS) is a progressive community committed to attaining self-sufficiency and independence through education and economic development. The Band has strengthened their community with childcare, education and health care facilities as well as other initiatives and infrastructure. They have created over 200 direct jobs, generated $200 million in regional economic activity, and pioneered the development of Indian property taxation authority. At one time the Secwepemc people occupied one large Traditional territory covering approximately 145,000 square kilometers. In 1811, after European contact, the colonial government divided the Secwepemc people into 17 distinct groups with specific parcels of land designated to each.

The Kamloops Reserve land base was established in 1862 under the direction of Governor James Douglas. It is located east of the North Thompson River and north of the South Thompson River, adjacent to the City of Kamloops. The word Kamloops is the English translation of the Shuswap word Tk’emlúps, meaning ‘where the rivers meet,’ and for centuries has been the home of the Tk’emlupsemc, ‘people of the confluence.’

Tk’emlúps has always occupied a place of great economic importance in our region. Traversed by two major waterways, traditional Tk’emlupsemc territory was the center of major traffic and trade routes. Due to our community’s great economic and military strength, as well as our ancestor’s pivotal role in the creation of peace accords, the Tk’emlupsemc were designated the Secwepemc7uwi,‘ the real Shuswap’.

Secwepemc Songs and Dances
The songs, dances, stories, and ceremonies of the Secwepemc were, traditionally, an integral part of daily life; not separate as in many Western cultures. They were absolutely vital in maintaining the values, beliefs, and teachings regarding care of the land and the people.

The songs, dances, and ceremonies keep the Secwepemc tied to the land and they continually remind people of their responsibilities. They perpetuate vital teachings and contain the laws – who may harvest medicinal plants and how it must be done in a proper and respectful way. Secwepemc must sing and pray before harvesting any food, medicines, and other materials from the land. They must make an offering to thank the Creator and the spirits for anything they take. The Secwepemc believe that all living things have spirits and must be shown utmost respect.

The Kamloops Indian Band hosts the Kamloopa Powwow over the British Columbia weekend (Friday – Sunday) of August at the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Powwow Grounds in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.