Chief Atahm School

School History

In 1996, a group of Secwepemc parents from the Neskonlith and Adams Lake reserves were very concerned about the rapid decline of the Secwepemc language in their communities. They decided to begin an early childhood language immersion program based on the Maori Te Kohanga Reo (language nests) in New Zealand. 

The program continued for the next three years until the oldest children were old enough to begin grade one. In 1991,the parents rallied together to secure another building to begin the first ever Secwepemctsin Immersion school. The school's name was chosen to highlight the importance of family. Chief Atahm represented a common ancestral link shared by the three local areas bands. The goal of Chief Atahm School was to promote emotional and spiritual healing; to promote the physical and intellectual well being of the community; and the re-discovery of Secwepemc identity through language, culture, and history. Secwepemctsin was the language of instruction.

Secwepemc Language Immersion

Language Nest & Nursery to Grade 4 Immersion

Intermediate Program

Grade 5 to 7 Classrooms

Highschool Program

Grades 8 to 10 classrooms

Language Lessons, Videos & Games

All levels language classes

Curriculum Department

Responsible for planning, publishing and piloting Secwepemc resources

Our Staff

Meet our teaching administration and teaching staff


First Voices

Secwepemc Language Learning

Words and Phrases in Cstelnec dialect

Creation Stories of CAS

Dr Kathryn Michel's doctoral thesis, "Creation Stories from Chief Atahm School"

Other Videos

View other videos about our school, language and culture

Our Programs

Secwepemc immersion education is an approach that has been successfully used in many parts of the world to revitalize language through education. All instruction and communication is in our language, Secwepemctsin. Children acquire fluency in a natural way: through interacting with teachers and students throughout the school day.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, the grade four intermediate program will be a bilingual program with 80% of the day conducted in Secwepemctsin and 20% of the day in English. This will provide a gradual transition into English-based classrooms. In grade five we anticipate that the program will either have 40 or 50% of the school day conducted in Secwepemctsin. Grade six and seven will continue to have two afternoons devoted to language.

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Contact Us

Chief Atahm School
Box 1068, Chase,
BC, V0E 1M0, CAN
P: (250) 679-8837



SFU Adult Language Program

Learn more about our intensive language program for adults

New Language Resources

Check out the new language videos, books, and media.

About Us

Chief Atahm School was started in 1981 by a small group of parents wanted a Secwepemc-based education for their children. The school has a language nest for children from six months-3 years old; a nursery/kindergarten immersion; a grade 1 to grade 4 immersion; and grades 5 to 9 intermediate and highschool program.