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Secwépemc app

About The Secwepemc people in the interior of BC people

In the 1800’s the white people came exploring western North America. At first they were friendly, and treated the Aboriginal peoples with respect.
The chiefs of the Plateau in 1910 said about these first white traders and explorers, whom they called the seme7uy or “real whites,”
“The real whites we found were good people. We could depend on their word, and we trusted and respected them. They did not interfere with us nor attempt to break up our tribal organizations, laws and customs. They did not try to force their conceptions of things on us to our harm. Nor did they stop us from catching fish, hunting, etc. They never tried to steal or appropriate our country, nor take our food and life from us. They acknowledged our ownership of the country, and treated our chiefs as men.” (Memorial to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 1910), But after the Gold Rush in B.C. in 1958, the whites multiplied and grew and grew in number, until finally they thought that they were the one that were dominant, they started to call the Aboriginal peoples “savages,” and gave them disease. The worst of these diseases, the smallpox epidemic of 1862-64, killed at least one third of the Plateau peoples. At the end of this phase, the Nicola had been wiped out. Along with the death of many pople in the other Nations, stories, history, cultural knowledge were wiped out.
But it didn’t stop there. When British Columbia became part of Canada, Residential schools were set up in the 1870s, and a set of laws called the Indian Act turned native people into wards of the government. It was not until the 1920s, however, that Residential Schools were compulsory. It was law for a native child to attend, and children’s parents were thrown in jail if they did not send their children to Residential School. . It is here that most of the damage was done. It is because of the residential schools that native people are struggling in their own silent struggle only spoken amongst themselves. As soon as a native child stepped onto the school grounds, they were to pretend that they were white. They were not to speak one word of their language; no native clothing was to be worn. If any of these rules were broken you were whipped, harshly. It was as if you were never Secwepemc and you had for your whole life been white. Some people were lucky and they were able to escape, or they were lucky and never forgot their language because they practiced speaking it at night when no one was around to hear, or spoke it in their head. But not all people were lucky. Now only a hand full of people knows Secwepmctsien, and it is an endangered language, on the verge of extinction. There are only about 300 people lefts who speak it, and most of them are elders. Each time one of our elders passes on; there goes a big part of our language! That is where this web site comes in. This is for our language. This is for our future. May our language and culture live long for the generation to come!

The Secwépemc app is a media-rich bilingual dictionary and phrase collection comprised of words and phrases archived at the online Aboriginal language database
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Status of Our Language

Name of Archive

Language Family


British Columbia

# of Words Archived

# of Phrases Archived
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