WHERE WE CAME FROM

Untitled design (93)In-SHUCK-ch is how you pronounce Nsvq’ts, a name that was adopted in the 1980s. A person identified as In-SHUCK-ch is an Nsvq’tsmc (pronounced In-SHUCK-ch micw).

The In-SHUCK-ch Nation takes its name from Nsékets (Gunsight Mountain) the most important landmark in our traditional territory. This mountain, with its split precipice, was the setting for the famous flood story, which recounts The Flood and the Distribution of the Lillooet People.

The waterways of the Lillooet River-Harrison Lake system have always been our lifeblood. We identify ourselves by our connection to the tmicw (land) and ns7úqwa7 (water). We have always used our fishing stations to harvest the salmon, which we ate fresh and preserved for winter use. In fall and winter, we ventured beyond our villages to hunt black-tailed deer, black bear, mountain goat, and other animals.

In summer, we picked berries along the river and in the alpines. We gathered root vegetables to supplement our diets. We made coiled basketry, clothing, and other implements, using the red cedar tree, which once grew everywhere on our lands. Our ancestors were important middlemen in the Coastal-Interior trade network.

We intermarried with the Sts’ailes and Scowlitz on the southern end of Harrison Lake, with the Lil’wat at Mount Currie, with the Upper Lillooet groups, and to a lesser extent with the Nlkapamux or Thompson in the Fraser Canyon.

In traditional times, our people were spread out along the lower Lillooet River and Harrison Lake in small, permanent villages, which consisted of extended family groups and headed by a kúkwpi7 (Chief). The people chose the most respected and most able person for this position. There were also hunting twit (Chiefs) respected for their knowledge and watchmen to keep the peace in the village and to relay messages to neighbouring villages. Scwená7em (healers) acted as intermediaries in rituals and cured illness.

We borrowed the ancient name of In-SHUCK-ch from our sacred mountain to identify ourselves in the modern context after we began negotiating a treaty.

Our traditions are recorded in our stories and practices that carry on today.