iN PHOTOS: 1st trailhead unveiled in Secwepemc Landmark project | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN PHOTOS: 1st trailhead unveiled in Secwepemc Landmark project

The first trailhead post being unveiled by Shuswap Middle School students Darah Thurston and Jeremiah Vergera.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shuswap Trail Alliance/Martha Wickett
June 08, 2021 - 6:00 AM

A landmark day finally arrived last week for the Shuswap Trail Alliance, Shuswap Middle School and Secwepemc communities involved in bringing the Secwepemc Landmarks project.

On June 1, marking the beginning of Indigenous Peoples History Month, Shuswap Middle School unveiled the first of 100 carved cedar trailhead posts, according a news release from the Shuswap Trails Alliance.

Part of the Secwepemc Landmarks Project involves 100 trailhead posts, carved by students at Chief Atahm School, Shihiya School and four District 83 schools, installed on trail systems throughout the Shuswap Lakes region.

Libby Chisholm, Secwépemc Landmarks Project Coordinator; Phil McIntyre-Paul, Senior Consultant at the Shuswap
Trail Alliance; Tkwemiple7 Louis Thomas, Neskonlith Band; Jen Bellhouse, Executive Director of the Shuswap Trail Alliance; and
Sutra Brett, Technical Lead with the Shuswap Trail Alliance next to the first of 100 carved trailhead posts.
Libby Chisholm, Secwépemc Landmarks Project Coordinator; Phil McIntyre-Paul, Senior Consultant at the Shuswap Trail Alliance; Tkwemiple7 Louis Thomas, Neskonlith Band; Jen Bellhouse, Executive Director of the Shuswap Trail Alliance; and Sutra Brett, Technical Lead with the Shuswap Trail Alliance next to the first of 100 carved trailhead posts.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shuswap Trail Alliance/Martha Wickett

READ MORE: Secwepemc landmark project moves ahead with new grant funding

The trailhead posts are aimed to be a reminder of Secwepemc communities' relationship to the region's lands and waters. Students carved the posts with guidance from Secwepemc carvers Hop You and Vern Clemah and Secwepemc storyteller Kenthen Thomas.

With the recent news of the 215 children found to be buried at the former Kamloops Residential School, speakers at the unveiling ceremony honoured those children and their families. Splatsin Knowledge Kepper Ethel Thomas opened with a prayer, followed by speakers including Kukpi7 (Chief) Wayne Christian, North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold and Jen Bellhouse from the Shuswap Trail Alliance.

Shuswap Middle School students Jeremiah Vergera
and Darah Thurston guided by Secwepemc Knowledge Keeper and carving instructor, Hop You.
Shuswap Middle School students Jeremiah Vergera and Darah Thurston guided by Secwepemc Knowledge Keeper and carving instructor, Hop You.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shuswap Trail Alliance

READ MORE: Should old residential schools stay in use? Local Indigenous leaders offer insight

The June 1 unveiling ceremony was organized by Indigenous education workers Theresa Johnson and Kaeili Hawrys, with woodshop teacher Brian Gerbrandt. The event was hosted by Shuswap Middle School.

The 100 trailheads are just one piece of the Secwepemc Landmarks project, which includes sculptures and interpretive panels throughout the region, further grounding the importance of the region to Secwepemc communities.

Tkwemiple7 (Councillor) Louis Thomas and Tkwemiple7 Brad Arnouse, of Neskonlith, with City of Salmon Arm mayor Alan Harrison.
Tkwemiple7 (Councillor) Louis Thomas and Tkwemiple7 Brad Arnouse, of Neskonlith, with City of Salmon Arm mayor Alan Harrison.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shuswap Trail Alliance/Martha Wickett

The Landmarks Project is a collaborative effort, according to the release, funded by Splatsin, Adams Lake Band and Neskonlith Band. Further funding and support also came from the B.C. Rural Dividend Program, Heritage B.C., the City of Salmon Arm, Shuswap Trail Alliance and Shuswap Tourism.

The 100 cedar posts were donated by Stella-Jones and rocks placed on top of the trailhead markers were drilled by Hardrock Granite.

Tkwemiple7 (councillor) Shelley Witzky, of Adams Lake Band, and Sutra Brett of the Shuswap Trail Alliance designed the trailhead posts with guidance from the Secwepemc Lakes Elders Advisory Committee.

Kenthen Thomas, Secwepemc storyteller, leading students in a workshop.
Kenthen Thomas, Secwepemc storyteller, leading students in a workshop.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shuswap Trail Alliance

District Indigenous helping teacher Meredith Rusk with Secwépemc Landmarks Project lead Tkwemiple7 (Councillor) Shelley Witzky of Adams Lake Band.
District Indigenous helping teacher Meredith Rusk with Secwépemc Landmarks Project lead Tkwemiple7 (Councillor) Shelley Witzky of Adams Lake Band.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shuswap Trail Alliance

READ MORE: A trail from Sicamous to Osoyoos depends on West Kelowna to Peachland problem


To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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