The City of Kamloops occupies land that, since time immemorial, has been a place of great cultural and economic importance in our region. The City acknowledges that we are located on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS) territory, situated within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwépemc Nation. We honour and respect the people, the territory, and the land that houses our community.
The Kamloops Reserve 1 is located northeast of the intersection of the North Thompson and South Thompson Rivers, adjacent to the city, independent but part of our broader community. Maintaining and enriching a relationship of mutual respect, growth, and vitality with the TteS government and people while honoring their relationship to the land throughout this region is a high priority for the City.
In recent years, the TteS community and the City have developed a new approach to relationship building and reconciliation. The development started with a series of Community to Community Forums, which began over a decade ago and helped the Kamloops community recognize TteS culture, values, and history through agreements, physical projects, and plans. The pathway our communities have forged has branched in several directions and includes collaboration on projects ranging from transit service to park trails and joint working groups.
The 2019–2022 Kamloops City Council Strategic Plan includes direction to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities. This direction reflects the City’s priority to improve its relationship with TteS and is an example of how collaboration has continued through changes in elected leaders from both communities.
In 2019, the relationship between TteS and the City was featured in a Pathways to Collaboration case study developed by the Union of BC Municipalities, the Province of British Columbia, and the First Nations Summit.
In 2019, a letter of understanding (LOU) was signed between Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc and the City that outlined each community’s commitment to preserving and promoting Secwe̓pemc values, including protecting TteS cultural heritage resources. The LOU was intended to serve as a stepping stone towards a future cultural heritage agreement.
Through the fire service agreement, the City provides fire protection and FireSmart educational programming for TteS members and their schools and daycares. The agreement includes language and definitions around cultural burning as a right and responsibility of Indigenous peoples, and it highlights the importance of cultural understanding with a commitment to continuous learning. The City first established a fire service agreement with TteS in 1977. The current agreement was signed in May 2021 and is in effect until March 2024.
The sanitary sewer effluent agreement was established in 1996 for accepting, treating, and disposing of sanitary sewage discharge from TteS lands. The agreement has been designed so that a portion of the funds collected by the City for sewer services are set aside in a recreation trust fund that is used for parks and recreation projects on TteS lands, that are accessible to all residents on the reserve and within the city. Both Councils must approve fund expenditures.
The community transit partnership agreement between the City and TteS provides conventional transit service within TteS boundaries and between TteS and the city. The agreement has a five-year term, which began in 2018 with the first transit routes scheduled in September 2018. Approximately 3,000 hours of transit service are available on TteS lands. TteS is responsible for most costs related to these services. The City retains full authority for setting fares; however, revenue is shared in a manner representative of revenue generated within respective boundaries.
The Rayleigh Park agreement pertains to the division of land in Rayleigh that formerly housed a correctional centre which closed in 2002. The province issued part of the land to the City, which became the Tournament Capital Ranch. TteS filed a land claim for the remaining property which the City of Kamloops supported.
For over a decade, the City and TteS have engaged in regular Community to Community Forums to maintain an open line of communication to discuss shared interests and concerns. Occurring once or twice a year, these forums establish an avenue for inter-governmental coordination based on a relationship of trust, which has led to the development of joint working groups, collaborative projects, and formal service agreements.
The Cultural Heritage Working Group was established in 2019 to ensure that the City and TteS proactively implement active and ongoing involvement in protecting, managing, and interpreting cultural heritage. This working group is fueled by the spirit of co-operation and partnership, with demonstrated respect and commitment to preserving and promoting Secwépemc values, including the protection of TteS cultural heritage resources.
The Joint Recreation Working Group was established in 2020 to support recreation and sport on TteS Reserves for the benefit of band community members and City of Kamloops residents. This working group is fueled by the spirit of cooperation and partnership with demonstrated respect and commitment to supporting recreation activities and facilities on TteS Reserves with the funding through the City of Kamloops / TteS Recreation Fund.
The City of Kamloops / TteS Recreation Fund was established pursuant to the November 12, 1996, sanitary sewer effluent agreement between the City and the TteS. For the funds to be accessed, both Councils must agree to the nature and extent of all City of Kamloops / TteS Recreation Fund expenditures.
In 2018, the City worked with TteS to name a new 1.7 km pathway linking Sahali to the downtown core. The name, Xget’tem’ Trail, means “deep valley” in Secwépemc and pays tribute to the area’s historical ties to the Shuswap people. View media coverage.
In 2018, the City partnered with TteS to help rehabilitate and renovate a ballpark on band land alongside Highway 5 North, just south of the Halston Road/Paul Lake Road intersection. The project was funded using sewer utility taxes collected from Tk’emlups residents. View media coverage.
The City, working with TteS, developed protocols for archaeological assessments for City-led infrastructure projects and to document cultural and historical archaeological changes to the landscape in city parks and other property. For example, prior to sewer protection infrastructure work at Riverside Park in 2020, an archaeological assessment was conducted, which resulted in four archaeological sites being identified. A total of 123 artifacts made of stone, bone, and glass and 247 animal bones were discovered. A 584-year-old hearth (cooking feature) was found intact. Locations of cultural significance are found throughout Secwémpcùľecw and need to be protected and treated with respect. Due to the amount of archaeological work on City initiatives, Council supported the Capital Projects Division in hiring a full-time archaeologist in 2021. View media coverage.
For approximately a decade, City Council and staff have undertaken Indigenous awareness training, including cultural heritage, consultation and engagement, negotiations, and working with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, City Council and staff have participated in Secwepemctsin language classes. Over 50 City representatives have completed training opportunities.
“The TteS and CoK are agents of change, engaging in initiatives that provide opportunities for both communities to work side by side for the betterment of community. They are breaking down barriers of implicit bias and enhancing awareness of the history, culture and legislative limitations of First Nations Communities. These initiatives are imperative and can stand as models for other communities of how to increase knowledge and understanding that will contribute to achieving outcomes and resolving issues outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” – Leslie Brochu
The City of Kamloops stands with all Indigenous Peoples and looks forward to working more closely with Metis and Inuit communities and regional First Nations organizations in future.