Overview of History of the Sto:lo After Contact
Indian reserves are the remnants of "Our Land" they are the bits and pieces of our sovereignty, of our culture that have survived. They are monuments of our victory against extinction. They are symbols of continuing struggle against our oppression by the Europeans. Today an Indian reserve is a jail. Tomorrow it should be the basis of independence. Read more...
We have been practicing the First Salmon Ceremony for a very long time. We believe this ceremony is so important for our survival of the fish and to continue feeding our families for generations to come. Fish have always been a main source of our people’s diet; fish were smoked, dried and eaten fresh in season. Later we began to can and freeze fish as ways of preserving food for the off season. As the Pilalt people are a fishing tribe, all our reserves are situated by a river, although sometimes now the river is channeled away or the spawning grounds destroyed.
Cheam First Nation is a village of the Pilalt tribe of First Nations. Prior to European contact, our village participated with other Pilalt villages in stewarding our lands. Fishing has always been foundational to our people and has influenced our culture and traditions, how we steward our lands and the strong focus we have on protecting the environment. Before contact, the health of our community was strong. We managed our resources and food sources were plentiful.
After European contact, our people became dependent on the Indian Agency. The Federal and Provincial Governments took away our stewardship of the land and many of our systems now are colonized rather than traditional systems. Our systems are underfunded; therefore many of our programs and services are underfunded. That has resulted in poverty, social issues, anger and laws that negatively affect our ability to maintain our cultural and traditional ways.
Over the years, we have begun to slowly gain our stewardship of the land back by way ...
To respect our teachings passed down from generation to generation, we cannot share too much about our spiritual traditions as they are very sacred to us. Cheam has a number of band members that practice the spiritual tradition of the longhouse and those oral teachings are passed down from one Cheam member to another. Our culture and spiritual traditions are unwritten practices that are so important to Cheam people and can be summed up in one word,”Identity”. Our spiritual traditions are kept alive through oral history and shared with the outside. Our traditions and culture bring back who we were and who we are now.
Tradition and Culture was and is about survival. Collecting, preserving and bartering were our way of life and it was what we had to do to survive. We don’t have that as much today. Now we are gaining our culture and traditions back from the knowledge of our elders and are practicing our traditional ceremonies. The best way to preserve our traditions and culture is by ...