About Us

The Switzmalph Cultural Society (SCS)

The Switzmalph Cultural Society (SCS) was originally registered as a Society in April 2000 to provide a vehicle to manage projects, formalize partnerships and raise funds for the Mary Thomas Heritage Centre.  The Society was re-registered in February 2016.   Dr. Mary Thomas, beloved Elder of the Shuswap Nation, held the vision for the creation of the centre for many years. Dr. Thomas was part of the Secwepemc people, also known as the Shuswap.  They are a nation of 17 bands occupying the south-central part of the Province of British Columbia.

The ancestors of the Secwepemc people have lived in the interior of British Columbia for at least 10,000 years. At the time of contact with the Europeans in the late 18th century, the Secwepemc occupied a vast territory, extending from the Columbia River valley on the east slope of the Rocky Mountains to the Fraser River on the west and from the upper Fraser River in the north to the Arrow Lakes south.  Traditional Shuswap territory covers approximately 145,000 square kilometers (56,000 square miles). The Nation was a political alliance that regulated use of the land and resources, and protected the territories of the Shuswap. Although the bands were separate and independent, they were united by a common language – Secwepemctsin – and a similar culture and belief system.

The Neskonlith Indian Band, located in Chase and Salmon Arm in the south-central part of British Columbia, is one of the Shuswap or Interior Salish Nations.  The total population of the Neskonlith Indian Band is approximately 600 members with 280 living on the reserve.

Mission Statement

  • To preserve the Shuswap language and culture
  • To provide a bridge of understanding between native and non-native people
  • To foster cooperation to sustain, regenerate and nurture the environmental, social, economic and spiritual needs of our communities and the earth
  • To provide employment, training and education to native and non-native people
  • To be financially successful in order to ensure sustainability and lasting cultural, environmental, social and economic benefits.