Stk'emlupsemc Te Secwépemc First Nation Delegation Visits
On January 22-24, 2019, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Division of Anthropology, welcomed representatives of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc (Secwépemc) First Nation from Kamloops, Canada. The traditional territory of the Secwépemc, whose name means "the spread-out people," is located in the south-central interior of the Canadian province of British Columbia and stretches from the Columbia River valley along the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and south to the Arrow Lakes. The Secwépemc are the northernmost of the peoples or nations of the Northern Plateau, and their traditional language, currently spoken fluently by less than 200 people, is Shuswap, known as Secwepemctsín.
The visit was funded by a repatriation grant that the Royal British Columbia Museum awarded to the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc First Nation, and Secwépemc representatives reviewed relevant anthropological collections as well as historical photographs held in the Special Collections Library. Much of this material was accessioned during the Museum’s Jesup North Pacific Expedition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when anthropologist Franz Boas hired James Teit and Harlan Smith to conduct research in Secwépemc communities. The Museum’s collection also includes plaster casts of known Secwépemc individuals, including full busts and life masks of Chief Louis of Tk’emlúps (Kamloops), Louis Fallardeau (Kamloops), Edward Hyacinthe (Kamloops and Skeetchestn), and Alek Sarent (Kamloops).
This visit marks the first time that a Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc delegation has visited the AMNH and continues a series of open and productive dialogues between First Nation communities and the Museum.