April is here already! The Halq'emeylem word for April is Temkwikwexel which means the Time for Baby Sockeye Salmon and some people use the word kwikwexel for baby sockeye salmon. Indigenous peoples learnt by observing the natural world and through experimentation over thousands of years. Skunk cabbage plants arrive in the early Spring and they are abundant this year due to the high amount of rain. Skunk cabbage also indicates that soon the salmon will be coming. Bears taught the Indigenous people that skunk cabbage is unsafe to eat raw as this is one plant that bears do not eat. Some Indigenous people learnt that the long white rhizomes of the skunk cabbage can be eaten if they are boiled or steamed in cooking pits. The leaves were used to line the cooking pits or to lay food on. PLEASE DO NOT EAT any of the skunk cabbage plants for if they are not handled properly the plant will cause intense irritation and burning in your mouth!!!
In Chilliwack the Sto:lo First Nations are the Shxwla:y, Squiala, Skowkale, Yakweakwioose and Tzeachten. The Skawahlook First Nations are in Agassiz. The Popkum First Nation are in Popkum and the Leq'a:mel First Nation are in Deroche.
Next month I will talk about the Sto: lo calendar system and the moon.
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Kw'as Ho:y (Thank you) ,
Aboriginal Liaison Worker
Our Sto:lo Neighbours
Ey Kw'ese Xwe:I (Welcome)
This is the first monthly write up about the Sto:lo First Nations to increase knowledge about the people whose traditional territories we all share.
The Sto:lo people have lived in the Fraser Valley since time immemorial or for thousands of years. Their territory is from Fort Langley up to Yale and in a small area of Washington. Halq'emelyem is the name of their language. Sto:lo means "river" or "people of the river". Traditionally, the Sto:lo people lived in small villages along the Fraser River. The Fraser River and their traditional territory is important to them for their culture and economy.
The month of Temkwikwexel (April) means Time for Baby Sockeye Salmon.
In the next write up there will be a brief talk about where many of the contemporary places where the Sto:lo First Nations live which are connected to their traditional territories.
If anyone is interested in specific kinds of information please contact the Summit Staff or Leslie Jensen, Aboriginal Liaison Worker.