Samiksha Jaiswal

Secwepemc Cultural Education Society

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The Secwepemc Cultural Education Society (SCES) is a non-profit organization in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada governed by representatives from thirteen bands of the Secwepemc Nation and a representative from the Secwepemc Elders Council. The society was founded on September 22, 1983 to preserve and promote the language, culture and history of the Secwepemc First Nation people. In addition to curriculum development and other programs, the society operates the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park in Kamloops.



SCES was incorporated in 1983, when it focused on language research and communications. By the late 1980s, SCES had six core departments: Secwepemc Resource Centre, Curriculum Development, Research Program and Archives, Shuswap Cultural Gatherings, Workshops and Conferences, The Language Program, and The Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park. Many of the projects at this time focused on creating audio/visual materials, archiving and offering workshops based on using the internet/email and communication skills in the workplace. In 1986 it offered its first Adult Education course.

Over the years SCES has evolved to offer a wide variety of programs and projects. The Resource Centre is now run by the Secwepemc News, a monthly publication covering news and events in the Secwepemc Territory. The Research Program has been busy working on projects to study the number of fluent speakers, adults learning the language, and students learning the language. Recently SCES received funding for a project that will research Secwepemc Rites of Passage.

The Society's numerous workshops have included financial management and planning, corporate law, employment law, budgeting, study skills for students in Adult Education and understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The Language Program has grown to include a series of projects that have created language resource materials such as posters, diagrams and charts, beginner books, advanced books, talking books, audio tapes/CDs, videos & DVDs, teachers guides and computer-based language lessons to accompany books.

SCES has expanded to offer programs for Leadership and Resiliency, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and Adult Literacy.

Core programs and projects

Language Department

The SCES Language Department was established to preserve and promote Secwepemctsin through a variety of projects and programs. Over the last year, the Language Department has worked on the following projects:

  • Formalization of the Secwepemc Language Authority;
  • Completed an advanced grade 11-12 curriculum for School District #73;
  • Completed the digitization of all language resources;
  • Recorded fluent speakers, used audio files to complement existing written resources;
  • Developed stories with illustrations and sound files for Salish Storyteller Software;
  • Developed a Parent Child handbook with corresponding audio cd and a fishing book;
  • Developed role model posters of fluent speakers by areas;
  • Staff attended several language conferences and training workshops;
  • Made language podcasts for the new SCES website.
  • Adult Education Department

    The purpose of the Adult Education Program is to enable learners to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote self-reliance and cultural pride, ultimately leading to employment or entrance to post-secondary institutes. In 2010, the Department did the following:

  • Provided evening courses for the winter 2010 semester;
  • Students have graduated with meaningful employment skills and prerequisites necessary for university;
  • Six students received BC Dogwood Certificates;
  • Five students graduated from the University College Entrance Preparation (UCEP) program;
  • Three students graduated from the Secwepemc Adult General Education (SAGE) II program and will be returning the following academic year; and
  • Ten part-time students completed their courses.
  • Aboriginal Adult Industry Training (AAIT)

    The AAIT program has offered the following in 2010:

  • A Level 1 Residential Building Maintenance Worker (RBMW) class was completed on March 5, 2010. The students were able to combine their cultural art skills with the wood-working component of the program. All four students completed the Level 1 program.
  • During March, the AAIT Assistant put together informational packages for communities regarding the RBMW Level 3 program starting in April 2010.
  • The AAIT Assistant gathered the necessary information to organize a RBMW Level 2 program for September 2010.
  • Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP)

    This program provides both in-school and after-school services to Aboriginal students attending Four Directions. It is intended to enhance youths' internal strengths and resiliency while minimizing involvement in substance use, violence, and other unhealthy choices and behaviours. The program began in 2010 and completed the following:

  • During the months of January through March, program staff became familiar with the deliverables of the program. Planning for implementation of the LRP project model was underway;
  • Community Partnerships were secured so that specific programs could be launched and delivered;
  • After-school activities were implemented to build and enhance relationships with students;
  • A family event was offered to Four Directions students and their families. Dinner was provided, along with a brief outline of the LRP program;
  • The first adventure activity, snow tubing, included both school and LRP staff;
  • Drama program focusing on a student-led video production commenced in partnership with the school. This project was to be completed by May 2010; and
  • In July the participants went on a three-day camping trip and to the Vernon Waterslides.
  • Aboriginal Partner Assisted Learning (APAL)

    The APAL program is a collaborative effort between SCES and Thompson Rivers University (TRU). It was meant to reach the many adult learners with lower levels of literacy who are not comfortable participating in formal classroom-style learning. APAL offers tutoring free, one-to-one, in a relaxed atmosphere. The tutors are available to meet in a pre-designated location comfortable for the learner. Also, the APAL Coordinator, where possible, matches up tutors and learners based on shared experiences or hobbies to try to make the learner more comfortable. The program had the goal of reaching an average of 15 learners per month and in 2010 had 15-18 learners per month. The Coordinator was working on the following:

  • Recruiting tutors and learners for the APAL program;
  • Promoting the APAL program at regional literacy events and meetings;
  • Developing the program at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre (KRCC);
  • Continuing to advertise APAL through media campaigns; and
  • Offering professional development workshops for the tutors. Two workshops were designed to focus on positive tutoring techniques to assist learners.
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Program

    For the past two years, the FASD Outreach program has focused on educating primary and secondary teachers and students about this disorder. In addition, the staff delivered a mentoring program to a few FASD-affected students; they have benefited by the “one-to-one” services, provided on a twice-weekly basis. The Youth Support Worker assists the staff at Four Directions in delivering a wide variety of essential skills to help students develop life skills: learning to set goals, plan for careers, and assist with a school meal program. In addition, the Youth Support Worker works with students and their families by aiding them in accessing community services, to include drug and alcohol counseling, legal aid support, employment services, and medical care; they arrange for transportation to and from appointments.

    Secwepemc Newspaper

    The Secwepemc News is a monthly publication serving the people and communities of the Secwepemc Nation. The paper is available for free pick-up at over 200 outlets, including band offices, stores, gas stations, restaurants, friendship centres, schools, Secwepemc gatherings, and the offices of various Secwepemc organizations. Secwepemc News is an excellent communication vehicle for the Secwepemc, other First Nations people living in Shuswap country, and non-Native readers who like to keep current with local First Nations issues. In 2010, the paper increased circulation by 15% by broadening outlets and promoting the newspaper as a learning tool with local First Nations support workers and teachers. The Editor's main focus has been to:

  • Research and interview elders and youth for inspiration;
  • Upload the newspaper to the SCES website;
  • Continue site visits within Kelowna and Vernon to check on distribution process;
  • Capitalize on major car dealerships' advertising in Kamloops; and
  • Capture events and stories in the Secwepemc area.
  • References

    Secwepemc Cultural Education Society Wikipedia

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