Chief Harry Edwards Author of “Mr. Magpie & Mr. Crow”
Henry Peter Edwards better known as “Harry” was born August 1, 1885 to Mary and Louie Edwards. This birth took place on Cheam Reserve at Rosedale, British Columbia.
Harry received formal education at St. Mary’s Residential School, Mission, B.C., where he completed his Grade Eight education. In 1908 he married Maria Hope of Seabird Island and together they raised seven children.
Harry became Chief of Cheam in 1942 and he carried out this position for the next 10 years. Traditionally, a Chief was not elected as they are today, you inherited this role. Harry’s father was Chief, Chief Alexis and when it was time Harry was prepared to take over; he was one of the last hereditary Chiefs in the Stó:lō area. The main reason Harry stepped down from his position was “progress” as he felt things were just moving too fast.
As a young man, Harry worked on the steamboats which carried supplies from New Westminster to Minto Landing in Chilliwack and later he became a dairy farmer. He was the only dairy farmer on the Cheam Reserve and continued farming for approximately 35 years. Long ago you had to do everything by hand such as milk the cows twice daily, plow the ground, clear the land, pack water and feed for the animals. This was a seven days a week job, all year round so this didn’t leave much time for Harry to have many hobbies.
When there was spare time he really enjoyed playing his violin. Religion was important in Harry’s life, he made sure there was time every Sunday to attend Mass. Harry retired from farming in 1950 and was proud that he was recognized as a lifetime member of the Fraser Valley Milk Producers Association.
In his younger days he dedicated his life to clearing the land for the dyke to the Hope “Slough”, which is 50.5 acres. After retirement he had more time and continued to fulfill his dream. Harry was a fluent speaker of halq'eméylem and knew a lot about the Stó:lō traditions and stories. He was always willing to share this knowledge with everyone and for a time met weekly with the late Oliver Well
The Author, Chief Harry Edwards’s first printed edition of “Mr. Magpie & Mr. Crow” was in 1982 for the Stó:lō Nation; the second printed edition was in 2007’ for the Stó:lō people.
Chief Harry Edwards’s book, Mr. Magpie & Mr. Crow, is available at:
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