Garry Gottfriedson

Garry Gottfriedson
Born: November 16, 1954

Garry was born and raised in Kamloops. His parents are the late Mildred and Gus Gottfriedson. He was also raised by his grandparents, and if you count the members that sat amongst the family at the dining table and told stories, it is safe to say this is where many of his teachings also came from.

Garry was born the seventh son of a very large family. His father was more of the politician and his mother the traditionalist. Garry came from a ranching family. Even though his family is involved in the rodeo circuit and some brothers were in the Pro circuit, Garry chose to pursue his education. Garry is one of the first band members to achieve a masters degree and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree. So to this community Garry is a World class champion, and an excellent role model and mentor to those who also wish to pursue their education.

Garry, as a member of the Paul Creek Tribal dancers, travelled across Canada performing some traditional Secwepemc songs and dances. He was also one of the first Native participants involved in a student exchange trip who travelled to Caughnawaga, Quebec at a young age. These are just two of the trips to open the door to further International travel.

For a brief period in the 70's Garry opted to live at Small Boys Camp. He chose to leave mainstream Canadian society for awhile and live a more traditional lifestyle in the foothills of the Rockies. His creative writing, teaching, and gifted storytelling have allowed Garry to travel around the world.

He is an acclaimed author of many different publications and books. One book, which sold out the first printing, is titled "In Honour Of Our Grandmothers." In 1996 he received the Editor's Choice Award: National Library of Poetry. In 1997 he was inducted into the International Poetry Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, this award presentation came at the same time as his late father's burial and keeping with the customs of his people, he stayed to see his father put to rest.

Today his greatest achievement comes from learning the Secwepemc Language. He is taking courses at the highly acclaimed Chief Atahm Secwepemc Immersion School in Adams Lake. Garry is going a step beyond and bringing these teachings back home to share with his family. Today Garry still practices traditional Secwepemc Songs. His example shows that one can live in the best of two worlds if one is committed and dedicated to the preservation of his or her culture; and in this case, Garry's Secwepemc history, language, and culture.