School District 73’s Day of Sucwentwecw landed on Apr. 7 this year. This annual district-wide event recognizes and celebrates the Secwepemc People (Secwepemcul’ecw) and other Aboriginal people residing within the Secwepemc Territory.
“This is an opportunity for schools to continue to embed the First People’s Principles of Learning, and to address the Calls to Action as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Sullivan.
Now in its eighth year, the idea for the Day of Sucwentwecw was proposed in 2012 by the Kamloops Thompson Teacher’s Association’s Social Justice Committee and endorsed by the Aboriginal Education Council. It was approved by the Board of Education in 2014, well before the province revised the curriculum to include the First People’s Principles of Learning.
The years theme is ‘Learning together: In Memory, History, and Story, using Aboriginal Perspectives.’
For the second consecutive year, the day will be a virtual event due to the pandemic, with a focus on the concept of gathering and presentations of learning in all district schools. Resources were put together for teachers that include recorded messages from local Aboriginal Leaders and elders, songs and stories, and a video of the Welcome Song performed by students within SD73.
“The Welcome Song is our Secwepemc Song that is sung all over the Secwepemc Nation,” said Bernice Jensen, Cultural Education Coordinator with the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society. “It welcomes all of us; it welcomes the people, welcomes Mother Earth and welcomes our ancestors. The beat of the drums is the heart beat of the nations coming together strong and powerful. It’s part of our ceremony and helps us connect to the creator to offer prayers of healing and to give thanks to all. All My Relations.”
“Students performing the Welcome Song, had an opportunity to dress up in beautiful regalia and moccasins,” said Rae Bennett, Aboriginal Education Worker. “In the Secwepemce cultures, only certain pieces of regalia were displayed while dancing to the Welcome Song. All the girls wore yokes, long skirts, leggings, moccasins, and accessories. Their hair accessories had feathers and beads that matched their regalia. The boy dancers each wore vests and moccasins. The drummers and singers wore the Secwepemc colours of the medicine wheel – black, white, red, and yellow.”
Source: SD73 – Diana Skoglund