10,000 years of Secwépemc history told in new book

Ron and Marianne Ignace discuss their new book Secwépemc People, Land and Laws

Ron and Marianne Ignace hold their new book Secwépemc People, Land and Laws. (Ellizabeth Nygren/The Omega)

Ron and Marianne Ignace’s new book Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws explores 10,000 years of Secwépemc history, from before traders and settlers came to their land, to the hundreds of different stories within the Secwépemc culture.

When discussing the book, Ron Ignace described it as a 3-legged stool.

“A book to re-engage our people back into our history,” he said.

The second leg of this book is “to inform non-Shuswap people about Shuswap people and our land.” The last leg “is written in such a way towards winning our title back for Secwépemculecw.”

The Ignaces also discussed their own personal experiences when living on the Secwépemc land and honoured all the Secwépemc elders who taught them.

“We have the many elders and storytellers, and we acknowledge them name by name in the first part of the book,” Marianne Ignace said. “We wanted to make sure everyone that shared their knowledge was included. It turns out there are 150 elders”.

“[Of the elders] many unfortunately are gone, but we are lucky to have captured their voices through this book and were able to give them a voice,” Ron Ignace added.

Marianne Ignace also focused on the legacy they wanted to leave with this book.

“The long ago legacies [the ancestors] left behind as they were settling the land, occupying the land, getting to know the land and shaping the land as the land shaped them,” she said.

Along with this, Ron Ignace talked about the different stories they wanted to remember with this book as well. He talked about how the stories are written on the land with physical markings and that these stories connect the land to its creatures, meaning humans, history and everything that surrounds it.

Marianne Ignace noted that “those stories are written on the land in the landmarks they left.”

The Ignaces went detail on hundreds of these stories in their book, all of which are unique and captivating in their own way.

The Ignaces said that the theme of their book is how Secwépemculecw was created.

Ron Ignace added that if you want to learn or “ find the boundaries of our nation, you have to go to our stories.”