Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kamloops ~ Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park

We love Kamloops ! We have lived here most of our lives and have had the good fortune to also live and travel in other parts of the province of British Columbia, but no matter how beautiful other places may be, there is no place like home.

Kamloops has a rich and colorful history that has made this area what it is today and we are able to read about and see how we have grown and evolved by visiting many locations as well as our museums.

One very interesting museum to visit is the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park.  The word Secwepemc means Shuswap and that is most commonly used.  I asked  how to pronounce it a couple of times and was told that if I could speak German, I might be better, but I don't !  They have a throaty sound with the "c" that I cannot use but it sounds a bit like "Sek-wep-emk". 

   TK'emlups marsh in Secwepemc Heritage Park

We recently took family visiting from the U.K. to see the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park. It is located in the Chief Louis Centre next to the Powwow Arbor on the Yellowhead Highway.

The museum shows the history and culture of the Shuswap Indians, which consists of 17 remaining tribes including the Kamloops Indian Band. There is a short film to view with pictures and stories of years gone by to stories of today and storytelling by elders who also teach arts and crafts used by their ancestors. The museum holds many artifacts, clothing, pictures. canoes and tools of the early days. It is a wonderful way to learn some of the history of the Secwepemc.

Lean-to at Indian Heritage park, Kamloops,BC
The lean-to is part of the reconstructed summer village in the outdoor cultural display on this 12 acre park. Several structures show their summer village with fish drying racks, fish traps, etc.

Winter underground home in Indian Heritage Park, Kamloops, B.C.
The Native Heritage Park offers a nice walk through the grounds to see the 2000 year old winter village as well as other structures to see how they lived.  There is a Ethnobotonical Garden that was created to show the native plants of the area that were harvested and used for medicinal and food as well as other purposes. There are a total of five garden sites in the Native Heritage Park.

Symbolic fencing at Indian Residential School, Kamloops, B.C.
This is past of the fencing in front of the old Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS) that still stands on the grounds but was closed in 1977.  I don't know why the letters are in a different sequence (KISR) and I may never know but there is a reason , I am sure.

Yellow headed blackbird ~ British Columbia Birds
In the park there is also the wonderful TK'emlups Marsh that is home to some beautiful birds and ducks. There is no doubt that there are more living creatures here, too, we just didn’t see them on this visit but we saw several of these beautiful yellow headed birds. I am guessing it is a blackbird but would be interested to hear if it is something different.

 Marmot - BC rodent family
The marmots are setting up homes nearby, and that can become a problem but at this point, they’re making themselves right at home and even pose for the occasional photo !
We were told there was a family of coyotes in the park but they didn’t show themselves during our visit. They were likely sleeping during the heat of the day when we made our visit.

The Secwepemc Cultural Education Society is a non-profit group that strives to maintain their culture, history and language and a visit to the Secwepemc Museum will take you back in time to show some of the history that goes back many years. Check out their web page for prices and times at:

Here is a map to the museum from Riverside Park in downtown Kamloops.
We love Kamloops and this is just one reason why “there is no place like home” !


  1. Great pics!

    And yes it is a yellow headed blackbird

    Found this

    and thanks for the tip on how to pronounce Shuswap in original form :-)


  2. Thanks for this info. And let's hope we don't get tested on Shuswap pronounciations (: !