4 Pillars Overview

Standing Up the Pillars of Our Nation- C7iskten (Pit-Home)

The four pillars of Secwepemc society, as identified by Secwepemc members from across Secwepemcúlecw, are:  Secwepemc Laws and Jurisdiction; Secwepemctsín (Language); Tmicw (Land and Territory); and Letwílc (Healing).  Just as the four pillars of a pit-house provide structure and stability to the home, so do these pillars provide structure and stability to the people. A fifth priority area, Aboriginal Title and Rights, is seen as the overarching roof and its many beams and structures which connect to form the protective house which safeguards the people within.

How did we arrive here? Historic and Recent Secwepemc Nation Building Work.

Honouring Past Work: Secwepemc Leadership Accord and Unity Declaration

Through engagement with Knowledge Keepers we were reminded of the past work that was done in support of nation building including the Secwepemc Leadership Accord (2008) and the Secwepemc Unity Declaration (2012). The Secwepemc Leadership Accord was signed in 2008 recognizing and respecting the mandates of calls on an ongoing political process to work together collaboratively to advance the interests of the Secwepemc Nation. The accord confirms commitments to develop strategies and actions to bring about significant change in areas of policy and legislation to benefit all Secwepemc. The leadership commit to seasonal meetings to be held on the land in connection with councils, Elders and members and calls for an annual gathering.

The Secwepemc Unity Declaration (2012) acted to further the intentions of the Leadership Accord. The declaration recognizes the 32 Ancestral campfires of the Secwepemc Nation acknowledging that each community historically was comprised of a series of villages with several leaders with differing responsibilities. The intent of the declaration was to declare mutual respect, cooperation for a vision of greater prosperity and well-being for all Secwepemc in Secwepemcúlecw and to support each other’s respective rights and obligations, mandates and responsibilities within Secwepemcúlecw and to strengthen and assert Secwepemc title and rights for the benefit of the Secwepemc Nation.

Moving Forward Today: Governance Engagement Sessions

Beginning in 2016, the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (SNTC) coordinated community engagement sessions to initiate a conversation on governance. While SNTC acknowledges that it is not the governing body for this work, the team’s role is to support the nation as it transitions to a governance structure which respects our jurisdiction, sovereignty, the wisdom of our Ancestors and the voices of our people. The Governance Initiative was then developed in order to implement the recommendations identified from the Secwepemc Governance: Community Engagement Session Findings Report in this important transformational work.

Secwepemc Nation Building – 4 Central Pillars of a C7iskten (Pit-Home)

The necessity to honour the knowledge of our Ancestors was identified as a critical component to Secwepemc Nation Building work. Through Secwepemc Seasonal Gatherings, the teachings found within the C7iskten (pit-home) were identified as being invaluable in the Nation Building work. The Secwepemc Nation Building Initiative was therefore modeled around the framework of the C7iskten.

The Nation Building framework is structured around the 4 central pillars of the c7iskten which represent:

  • Secwepemc Jurisdiction and Laws;
  • Secwepemctsín (Language),
  • Tmicw (Land and Territory); and
  • Letwílc (Healing and Wholeness).  

A fifth priority area, Aboriginal Title and Rights, is seen as representing the overarching roof and its many beams and structures of the C7iskten which connect to form the protective house which safeguards the people within.