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Cheam Community Life

Introduction by Rick Quipp (former Councillor)

Our culture and spiritual teachings are important to the Cheam community. It is our teachings that build the person that we become. Our most important teachings to ourselves is to have fun, respect ourselves and others, be proud of our community and be proud of who we are and where we come from. We have a program for Cheam children in foster care, this program is called "Roots and Ties". Once a month we have a dinner and encourage family members of children in care to come spend time with their children. At the dinners, the families share stories and other cultural activities. Historical events are discussed such as colonization and residential schools and how this changed our community life and our families. In fact, these two historical events almost wiped out our spiritual and cultural traditions by: taking our identity away; banning our spiritual practices; prohibiting us from voting and enforcing the Indian Act.

The experience of our people has been ...

 

 

 

 

Economic Development and Land Resources

Our people have been the “caretakers” of the land since time immemorial.

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Historical Resources

Our people have been the “caretakers” of the land since time. Historically, our resources have always sustained us and been critical to our survival. We used our resources for food, bartering and trading for survival. Also, the lands and resources have always taken care of our social wellbeing as a people. Our lands are used for food, trading, hunting and plants for traditional medicines and teas. The water is used for spiritual baths, fishing for food, social and ceremonial purposes. We also sell fish to enhance our economic sustainability. As a People, we respect the land and resources by giving back, keeping it clean and looking after our homes. We conserve our resources by not taking more than what we need, we must not be greedy. The vision is to still have our resources for our grandchildren for many generations to come.

 

History

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.

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History Of The Mountain Goat People

A young man went hunting mountain goats, as the story goes, on Cheam Mountain and became lost to his people, and came to live with the Mountain Goat People that live deep inside Mount Cheam. He lived with these people for many years, taking a wife and together they had 2 children. Eventually he returned to his parents who were, by that time very, very old. He lived in his parents’ village with his wife and children from that time on, never returning to the home of the Mountain Goat People. It is said that the young man, his wife and children are the ancestors of the people who live on Cheam Indian Reserve today. The name “Cheam” is a Halq’eméylem word pronounced “Chiyom”, which mean “wild strawberry place”. The village of Cheam is located just below the highest peak in the mountains stringing along the east side of Chilliwack. The people of Cheam live on two parcels of land, Cheam #1, holding most of the community with 821 acres, is located on the south ...

 

 

Legends Of Cheam

I ntroduction written based on interview with Joe Aleck

Pre-contact, every "village" had an Indian name. Today, the villages have been turned into "reservations" and given a "white" name. Chiyom, originates from the halquemeylem name T'chiyam and is now known as Cheam, which means "wild strawberry place". When our homesteads were up towards the eastside of Chiyom, you could smell the wild strawberries for miles away. And when people asked where we were from, we would say T'chiyam and they would know that we lived in the wild strawberry place. In the older days, none of our people spoke English so there wasn't any translation to think about in our language. The mountain goat has a story for Cheam - it tells where we came from as Chiyom people. Chiyom is also known for the beautiful Mt. Cheam. The legend about Lady Mt. Cheam is that she was taken south and married Mt. Rainier. They had five children, two were males and three were females. Lady Mt. Cheam got lonely for the people in the valley so she took ...

 

 

Spiritual Tradition

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 ...

 

Educational & Cultural Programs

Homework club runs Monday and Wednesday (3:30-5pm) every week during the months of October to June; this is open to all students needing assistance with their school work. Cheam Education Center provides an ABE (adult basic education) program available to adult learners needing to complete their grade 12, or to upgrade for future post-secondary. This runs Thursdays from 6-9pm weekly form September to June following a regular school schedule. Language program is open to all community members whom are willing to learn, this is provided in partnership with Coqualeetza Cultural Education Center whom provides the instructor for the program, and the session’s run on a weekly basis for 10 weeks. The Summer Program provides various activities for children ages 6-12. It is available at the Cheam Education Center throughout the summer months, also providing employment and work experience to secondary summer students who run the program. Salish Weaving & Sewing classes runs on a weekly basis Tuesdays evenings, ...