Ancient roots and forward vision merged like the rivers of the Thompson Valley when the students of TRU Law met recently with leaders of their host First Nation.
Devin Gambler and Danalee Baker from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc’s Department of Business and Economic Development spoke to a class of future lawyers in late November with a look at a First Nation that’s progressing with a changing world while maintaining pre-colonization values.
Gambler and Baker touched on a range of issues as they addressed the First Nations Governance and Economic Development class, including nation-owned businesses, leasing, strengthening infrastructure, membership capacity building, First Nations jurisdiction, growing strength of Indigenous nations and future initiatives.
“Devin Gambler and Danalee Baker gave a truly amazing presentation to these TRU Law students, who got to hear these messages of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc’s nation-leading best practices and experience in economic development. This tied directly into the class’s theoretical and substantive learnings and gave the students an inspiring capstone on the course,” says faculty member Murray Sholty.
“The guest lecture by Devin and Danalee opened my eyes to a wealth of possibilities for using law as an instrument in true reconciliation,” says TRU Law Dean Daleen Millard. “It sparked new ideas as to how the faculty can work with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc to create new knowledge and to integrate it into the JD curriculum going forward. What an enlightening experience.”
The class examined the evolution of First Nations governance from the Indian Act model of elected chiefs and councils, to the re-emergence of diverse systems based on pre-contact systems. The course also covered developments in First Nations economies and the relationships among First Nations, industry and governments.
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc — which translates to “the people of the confluence” — are members of the Interior-Salish Secwépemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples of BC. The Secwépemc people occupy a vast territory of the BC Interior. As future leaders of reconciliation and self-determination movements, TRU Law students are important carriers of the lessons brought by Gambler and Baker, in association with the entire Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.