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About The Cstelnec people

Chief Atahm School

The Chief Atahm School is a Secwepemctsin Immersion school located in Secwepemc territory on the shores of Shuswap Lake near Chase, B.C. The school, in existence since 1991, is one of the few immersion schools in Canada. The first immersion program began with a language nest, modeled after the successful Maori initiative, Te Kohanga Reo. Once these children reached school age, an immersion nursery to grade 2 program was implemented. The program was initiated by a group of parents who were very concerned about the rapid decline of Secwepemctsin. The full immersion program enhances the existing measures being taken to revive and maintain the Secwepemc language to ensure a base of fluent speakers for the future.

Currently Chief Atahm School offers a high quality immersion language nest program for infants and toddlers and an elementary/secondary program for Kindergarten to grade 10. Primary program instruction and school functions are conducted in Secwepemctsin. According to the Chief Atahm School vision, all students are taught about balance in the natural world as they practice the principles of sustainability. Chief Atahm School also offers high school and adult evening classes with favourable results.

Chief Atahm School’s overall goal is to increase the number of individual fluent speakers within the community. At the present time Chief Atahm School is the only organization in the region that is producing educational language curriculum and offering Secwepemc immersion. The school also receives orders from other bands, organizations and language instructors that have no other resource materials.

Adams Lake Band

Adams Lake Band is one of the seventeen existing bands within the Secwepemc Nation. Historically, the people settled along the shores of Adams Lake or the area known as Cstelen in the Secwepemc language. Thus, the people are referred to as Cstelnec, people of the Adams Lake area. Their traditional territory is a vast area stretching from the town of Chase to the snowpeaks above Tum Tum Lake. Presently, the land allocated by the government of Canada to the Cstelnec is limited to 7 parcels of individual reserves located along the shores of the Adams, Little Shuswap and Shuswap Lakes. The total acreage of all reserves is 7,271.2 acres.

Spririt Map is a website focuses on the Secwepemc language and their vast territory in the south-central region of British Columbia. The traditional territory once included 30 bands, and today 17 bands now occupy this area. We explore the endangered language of the Secwepemc to promote the understanding and growth of the immersion practices of language users across Canada. It shares a First Nations perspective on Canadian events, and showcases contemporary Secwepemc song, dances, literary, visual, fibre art, carving and social interpretation or expression of cultural identity.

Status of Our Language

Name of Archive
Secwepemctsin (Eastern Dialect)

Language Family


Chase, British Columbia

# of Words Archived

# of Phrases Archived
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