The monthly board meeting was scheduled for June 19th, but when Irene LaBoucane, District Principal of Indigenous Education for School District 83, Mishel Quaal, and Digital Media Instructor Brent Chudiak came out to view the Montebello they had a proposal for a rental on the same day. Susan agreed to take on another event. The School Board needed a space to hang the Knowledge Keepers, to honour the participants in the exhibit, and for a celebration with the four area bands – Neskonlith, Adams Lake, Little Shuswap, and Splatsin. Irene asked if Susan catered. Yes, was the answer. We can. We’re flexible. It is a normal day off for our Chef, David Colombe, but she promised she would get back to Irene’s team.

The second event involved supper. The Chef started preparations at 9 a.m. Guests started arriving as early as 4:30. It was hot but the Montebello Museum gallery was cool.

The board meeting was relocated to the deck of the “old” museum. Jugs of water were set out. President Norma Harisch called the meeting to order at 7:03.

Part way into the board meeting something happened. It was one of those moments where I had a feeling things were going to change. Christina Tompkins, our youngest board member and acting secretary for the meeting, spoke to her item on the agenda. She started off with a quote from CBC Associate Producer and reporter Ramna Shahzad.

“A territorial or land acknowledgement is an act of reconciliation that involves making a statement recognizing the traditional territory of the Indigenous people who called the land home before the arrival of settlers, and in many cases still do call it home.”



Christina spoke from the heart:

“For many Indigenous Nations, acknowledging territory has been an historic practice. It is now a practice taken by an increasing number of organizations across the country as a small step towards reconciliation. School districts, unions, universities, municipalities all take time at the beginning of meetings or gatherings to acknowledge the traditional territory of the local nations where the meeting is taking place. Regardless of whether or not Indigenous Peoples are attending the event, this acknowledgement is important for reconciliation and reframing how we think about land as Canada tries to repair the damage of our colonial past.”

Sitting in front of the territorial map for the interior of British Columbia, centred on the Secwepemc Nation, Christina made the motion:

“That the Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association begin each board meeting with an acknowledgement of the unceded territory of the Secwepemc Nation.”

I couldn’t have been more proud. The crowd was breaking up from the supper meeting in the Montebello. Elders were walking down the Village main street and greeted some of the board members.
Christina was bringing forward a motion would change a practice. Our Museum Association was joining other forward-thinking leaders in the community and grounding the board, members, and staff when thinking about the future and directions we choose to take.

Secwepemc Territory Map