Simpcw First Nation to host Secwepemc Gathering in August

The Secwepemc People are a nation of 17 bands occupying the south-central part of the province of British Columbia

Simpcw First Nation Elder Sam Saul in full traditional dress during a Pow Wow held last year in Chu Chu.

Simpcw First Nation Elder Sam Saul in full traditional dress during a Pow Wow held last year in Chu Chu.

Traditional ceremonies, authentic cultural experience, and a weekend filled with fun and socializing will be hosted by the Simpcw First Nation on Aug, 17, 18 and 19, when the 2012 Secwepemc Gathering comes to Chu Chua this summer.

The Secwepemc People, known by non-natives as the Shuswap, are a Nation of 17 bands occupying the south-central part of the province of British Columbia.  The ancestors of the Secwepemc people have lived in the interior of British Columbia for at least 10,000 years.

The Simpcw are a division of the Secwepemc, or Shuswap, whose traditional territory encompasses approximately 5,000,000 Ha in the North Thompson region.

It’s been a long time since the Secwepemc Bands gathered in Chu Chua, and Secwepemc Gathering coordinator for the Simpcw, Alison Eustashe, says she is very excited about the event.

“We have so much happening, and we expect 400 to 500 participants to take part,” said Eustache, “It’s going to be a lot of work, but we are all really looking forward to it.”

Eustache says everyone is encouraged to come out and participate in the gathering.  “The event is open to the public and we welcome and encourage anyone who would like to attend.”

Some of the cultural presentations and activities featured throughout the weekend will be of particular interest to many; topics will include hand drumming,  pine needle basket making, story telling, crafts, and bull rush mats.

Opening ceremonies for the Gathering will start the weekend off at 4 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 17; then followed by a variety of events, including: children’s activities at the playground starting at 6 p.m., and  bingo in the gymnasium starting at 7 p.m.   Sports fans will find a Slow-Pitch game at the Chu Chua Ball Park, and Ball Hockey at the Simpcw Rink.

The impressive Pow Wow grand entry will take place at 7 p.m., Friday evening, and the last event to start will be the Traditional Sllek’mew’es Open Games, at 8 p.m. at the Rink.

On Saturday, the day will start off in three different areas; all starting at 8 a.m., with Fast Ball at the Barriere Ball Parks, Slow-Pitch at the Chu Chua Ball Park, and Ball Hockey at the Simpcw Rink.  Then at 10 a.m., children’s activities will begin at the playground, as well as Elder’s Horse Shoes, and other activities and presentations.

The Pow Wow grand entry on Saturday will begin at noon, then bingo starts at 1 p.m at the gymnasium, followed by a Shuswap Fashion Show at 5 p.m.

Don’t miss the Shuswap Idol in the gym at 7 p.m., or check out the Traditional Sllek’mew’es Battle of the Bands at 7 p.m. at the Rink.  All followed by a Family Dance at 9 p.m.

Sunday will feature the final games of Fast Ball, Slow-Pitch, and Ball Hockey, all starting at 8 a.m. Children’s activities start again at 10 a.m., along with more activities and presentations.

The colourful and traditional Pow Wow grand entry for Sunday will begin at 10 a.m., and the closing ceremonies of the Gathering begin at 3 p.m.

Throughout the weekend you will find a spectacular expression of the Secwepemc people’s heritage, and a vibrant display of storytelling, dance and song in traditional regalia.

Those wanting more information on any of the events should contact the Simpcw First Nation Band Office at 250-672-9995, and ask for Secwepemc Gathering coordinator, Alison Eustashe; or go to www.simpcw.com and click on ‘news’, and then ‘2012 secwepemc gathering’.