Indigenous Peoples called this land their home long before Golden became a settlement. Three Nations have deep connections to this landscape: the Ktunaxa Nation, the Secwepemc Nation, and the Métis Nation. These Indigenous cultures reveal the timeless significance of this land to past and future generations.
Tourism Golden is grateful to live, work, and play on the traditional unceded territory of the Ktunaxa and Secwepemc peoples which is also the chosen home to the Métis Nation Columbia River Society.
We respectfully acknowledge the culture and history that connects these Nations with this land; and their wisdom, sacrifices, and stewardship of the past, the present, and the future.
The Shuswap Band
We are the Secwepemc - the spread-out people. We have been caretakers of Secwepemculecw since time immemorial. Our laws and customs were given to us by Sk’elép (Coyote) as laid out in our ancient oral histories. Secwepemc laws govern the Secwepemc Nation and form the moral and spiritual foundation of Secwepemc society. This foundation is inherently connected to the land and our history.
Since the “birth” of the nation known as Canada we’ve had to navigate a world of colonization and the enforcement of the Indian Act. The scope of our governance has been reduced to reserves and elected Chiefs and Councils. We are fortunate to have not lost the thread of our laws, our oral histories, or knowledge of our lands, and we continue to work to strengthen these through Rights & Title assertions across the territory.
Before the creation of Canada, Shuswap/Secwepemc people lived harmoniously with the seasons and resources throughout the territory using what was known as ‘seasonal rounds.’ We developed an intricate system of travel corresponding with the seasons, as well as an important social and political system that governed our interactions with each other and the use of our traditional lands.
We entered our “winter homes” (pit houses/kekulis) in November and would remain there throughout the winter. The pit house was vital for survival in the harshest season when the water was frozen and the ground was covered in snow, as this made travel difficult. Evidence of these permanent homes and past village sites can be found throughout the Columbia Valley and surrounding regions through archaeological studies and observation of the landscape.
Salmon that were once abundant in the Columbia River system are integral to Secwepemc culture and identity. Fishing camps could be found along the Columbia River and the mouths of Windermere and Columbia Lakes, where communities divided large salmon harvests between families and stored the fish in preparation for long winter months and journeys. The way of life in traditional times was planned by and for the community to ensure that everyone was cared for and had enough resources. Shuswap Band has suffered the most severe of consequences due to salmon loss since 1939 with the installation of the Grand Coulee Dam. Those losses are significant and are intended to be minimized with the restoration of salmon stocks throughout their native range. Shuswap Band is deeply engaged with restoration efforts of anadromous stocks in the Columbia River.
Shuswap Band (Kenpesq’t) is one of 17 Federal Government Bands of the Secwepemc/Shuswap Nation, established in the 1860s. Though 17 bands are recognized today, the Secwepemc Nation had over 32 ‘campfires’ throughout the territory pre-contact.
Previous to 2006, the Shuswap Band was affiliated with the neighbouring Ktunaxa Nation and part of the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Council. The Shuswap and Ktunaxa people have intermarried for generations and many families are genetically linked. The two Nations have their own unique stories and languages, oral histories, and culture.
- Words by the Shuswap Band