photo by Jeremy Williams
Kectels re tqelt-kukpi7.
Syucwe‘min-tem re tmicw ell xwexweyt re stem te sten re tmicw.

stillshot from "Ctsenmewstem re Stsmemelt" -film by Jeremy Williams

"Tqeltkúkpi7 kectes re Esk̀étemc es westes re tmicw.  Kectels xwexweyt te t7elksten es yucwemíntem re tmicw, nekect, snewt, sew’llkwe, melámen.  Yirri7 xwexwéyt yi7ène k’ult ell wumec n Esketemc׳ul̀ecw.  Yirrì7 tsexèmstem xwexwèyt re Eskètemc kectelt es yucwemìntem xwexwèyt re stem  te k’ult n-tmicw, ne7éne re st́7ek tsùtsllke7 te ckwelḱuĺten.

Xwexwèyt nirrey re st́ek te tmicw ḱwseltknews n-tmicw n-tmicw ell wellen wi7-kt re sumec-kt te Secwèpemc ell kum tus me7 sqelḿucw-kt ri7 tsgim n-tmicw ell le q́7es te Qelmúcw  tem sq́7ests.  Re tmicw-kt ri7 yegwyégwt e snecwèntem.  Yirri7 re wumecstels sqwéqwentsin kt.  Nirrey re stselxmem-kt ell re sqelmucw-kt tselxémstem ri7 tsken-kt n-tmicw telri7 wel wenecum es yucwemintels e swumec-kt.  Yirrí7 re kì7ce-kt ec te tsmetstélses xwexwèyt n-sesṕey-kt, sqweqwentsiˉn-kt, sptinesem-kt ell s7elrált-kt.

Textxénwecw ri7 nerrèy re Qelmucw ell n-tmicw re sle7s re sù7ecs setenmintels re tmicw ell setenmintem re tmicw, telrì7 wel yùcweḿintels te le7.

Re setnúy-kt te Esk̀étemc  me7 westem, ta7 penhen me7s 7ep̀ts telène te q́7es te ckwelk̀uĺten ell te sts7elkstem re tmicw kumtus me7 swestem re sqelmucw-kt.

Re Esk̀étemc  re tk̀wenmìple7s kumtus re stsq̀eỳs ne7ène n-tmicw xwexwèyt re tm̀usmes ceǹ yi7ène re tśi7, spyu7, swewll ell pepíp̀7ese, xwexwèyt né7ene ḱult n-tmicw  ta7 penhen-k stu7kemin-tem, k-sllwelentem re sqelmucws nerrey re secwepems ta7 penhen kucw-k skecs tek stem ne7éne n-kapment te Canada ell n-British Columbia.  E-xi¢lmes kúcw mey kwectèl-t te tmicw-kt ell nerrèy t-sqelmùcw-kt Esk̀étemc -kt.

Re Esk̀étemc  necwentes re Secwepemtsins ri7 semecs ell tsten re p̀usmens n-tmicw kectels ri7 le tqeltkùkpi7 te xwqweqwluten-kt te secwepemtsin.  Yirrí7 ckwetkwt̀ústens re seméc-kt qelmucwts̀in-kt ketsentwecw n-tmiwc, n-secwèpem-kt, tsùtsllke7 te tk̀wenmìple7 ell le q̀7es te Qelmucw, yirri7 re srelr̀alt-kt, ell re sle7s re sptenesmentsút-kt.  Tá7 penhén mé7 llepéntem re secwépemtsín ell re sqelmucw-kt.

Ta7 penhen ri7 k-stsklleẃsts re Qelmucw xwexwèyt re Secwépemc ri7 tsyem ne7ène n-tmicw ts7emet tek Secwepemcuĺecw.  Me7 t̀ekstses ri7 re sk̀wseltknéwsts xwexwèytes re Secwépemc ell ne7éne n-tsútsllke7 te tk̀wenmíple7 st̀ek te senkúkpi7 sek̀lép: sqweqwentsín, kumtus e snecwéntem stemi re sqweléntelt, ta7 e sqwilensts, ec e kecetwecwt te stem, ta7 e stswel̀stàm re stem.

Ne7éne re Esk̀étemc  tsexemtes ec me7 kénes tem sq̀7ésts.  Yirri7 re skectels re q́7es te Q̀elmucw tem xweyt yirri7 sten n-cmetk̀yélkwes.  Yé7ene re qixqwxwt yirrí7 re kǹucwmen-kt, tsuǹmectels ec me7 kenmet xwexwèyt re stem te kèstem yirri7 ne7éne re qixqwxwt ketsentwècwts re Esk̀étemc  n-tmicw tel ri7 wel lè7 re sú7ec-kt.  Wellen wi7-kt Esk̀étemc  tsxemstém xwexwèyt ec me7 kénmet re tqelt kúkpi7 wikts xwexwèyt re Qelmucw ell xwexwèyt re stem nekú7 re stsk̀úls."

Esk’etemc – Tsemne7’ple

The Creator gave us this land to look after; and everything that grows on it.

stillshot from "Ctsenmewstem re Stsmemelt" -film by Jeremy Williams

"The Creator, Kalkukpe7, has given the Esk’etemc the duty to protect and safeguard our lands, forests, air, water, medicines and the life that they sustain within our Traditional Territory.  It is this duty that underlies all interests of the Esk’etemc people.  Therefore, the protection of our lands if fundamental in order to sustain the next seven generations.

All of our Rights flow from our relationship to the land.  Our lives, our culture and our continued existence as a people are completely tied to the land occupied by our ancestors since time immemorial.  Our land is a sacred trust.  It is the living body of our spirituality.  Our knowledge and our customs are understood and practiced through this relationship that protects and ensures our survival.  It is our mother nourishing us in all ways: physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

There is a reciprocal relationship between the health of the community and the health of the land.  The land owns us; if we look after it, it will look after us.

The Rights and Title of the Esk’etemc remain; they have not been extinguished and flow from our traditional historic ownership and occupation of the land.  We base our assertion on our oral history, traditions and customs.

Esk’etemc  asserts that we have Aboriginal Title to and the Right to use our land, resources and water within our Traditional Territory.  We have never sold, ceded or surrendered our Aboriginal Title or Rights to the Crown in the Right of Canada, or to the Crown in the Right of British Columbia.  Any infringement on Title and Rights impacts the resources and the land, and in turn, the Esk’etemc people.

Esk’etemc believe our Secwepemctsin is the soul and the heart of the land.  The Secwepemc language is a gift from the Creator.  It represents the eyes of the soul.  The language connects the people to the land, the culture, the traditions, the Seven Laws and our ancestors; it is a source of strength and pride.  In order to maintain Esketemc’s distinctive identity and culture, preservation of the language is essential.

There are no defined boundaries between First Nations.  The Secwepemc communities are united by and through the land ‘Secwepemculecw’.  These continuing relationships and alliances with other First Nations are based on the Seven Laws from Chief Coyote: spirituality, trust, respect, honesty, generosity, humility and patience.

Our Traditional Governing System also comes from the land.  It represents and unites all clans and all our ancestors and their descendents through the bloodlines.  Our Spirit Helpers, the animals, define our clans, our roles and our responsibilities.  It is through the animals that the Esk’etemc are further connected to the land.  The Esk’etemc believe that everyone is important; everyone has distinct roles and responsibilities.  The Creator, Kalkukpe7, sees everyone and everything as equals."