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.