The story of an archaeological find of significant cultural importance to the Secwepemc Nation marks the first of 75 new Stop of Interest signs coming to highways and communities around the province.
The new sign was unveiled today by Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone and representatives from the Sexqeltkemc te Secwepemc. The sign will be located next to the Sts’xum monument, off Highway 1 near Pritchard, approximately 30 km west of Chase.
“The first of our new Stop of Interest signs highlights important archaeological work done in partnership with local First Nations during safety improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway east of Kamloops,” said Stone. “Now, visitors through this area can imagine what this land may have looked like 10,000 years ago when it was home to the early Secwepemc peoples.”
This area of the Trans-Canada Highway corridor, called the “Cradle of Secwepemc Civilization”, is one of the more culturally significant archaeological areas in the province. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure worked collaboratively with the Secwepemc during the highway widening project to protect, preserve and mitigate impacts to archaeological sites and burial land forms dating back 9,500 years.
“Sts’xum Monument is a modern day Coyote Marker to honour Secwépemc ancestors within ‘Secwépemc Cradle of Civilization’ in the area during the Trans-Canada Highway 1 expansion,” said Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson. “The rock sculptures were created by local Secwépemc artists.”
“We have been on our lands for over 10,000 years,” said Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian. “We want to share with the world the sacredness of our connection to Secwepemculcw.”
From September 2016 through January 2017, British Columbians were invited to submit their ideas for new Stop of Interest signs and share interesting stories that could be told to people travelling B.C.’s highways. Over 500 submissions were received.
The stories to appear on the remainder of the 75 new signs will be announced over the coming months as the signs are installed.
The provincial map of Stop of Interest sign locations will be updated as new signs are added, at: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/stopsofinterest/
A backgrounder follows.
Media RelationsGovernment Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
The Secwepemc have provided the following information on the Sts’xum monument:
Sts’xum Monument is a modern day Coyote Marker to honour Secwepemc ancestors within “Secwépemc Cradle of Civilization” in the area during the Trans-Canada Highway 1 expansion. The rock sculptures were created by local Secwépemc artists.
Secwepemc History of Sts’xum (Miner’s Bluff) is ancient and pre-dates current archaeological academia. Sts’xum means “peel bark” in the Secwepemc language. The mouth of Monte Creek, a major camping area on south side of South Thompson River, is identified as a place where Saskatoon berries were picked. Early maps of the area indicate a trail along the South Thompson proceeding from Kamloops eastward to the vicinity of Monte Creek. Just east of the creek mouth, near the intersection of highways 1 and 97 this trail turned southward towards Westwold.
A pithouse depression (no longer visible) indicated the site of an ‘old Indian village’ located in an area very close to Rocky Point Bluff (removed during highway expansion) which is located on the south side of the South Thompson about two miles east of the intersection of Highways 1 and 97.
2012 Archaeological Impact Assessments indicate this site was in continuous use for over 9,500 years, and as recent as the previous generation whom travelled by horse and wagon, camping overnight at this spot with their families, on their way to Kamloops.
Chief Judy Wilson of Skat’sin (Neskonlith), former Chief Robin Billy of Adams Lake Band, Chief Wayne Christian of Splatsin, Chief Oliver Arnouse of Little Shuswap Lake Band, Councilor Rosalita Pascal of Shuswap Band, and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone commemorated the ancestral finds and unveiled the Sts’xum Monument with Secwepemc people and Elders on June 17, 2016.