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About Us

Our Vision

Cheam's vision is to continue looking after our fish and our environment, as the Pilalt did, and to keep our community healthy and strong.

The Vision of the Cheam First Nation management team is "lets'emó:t for a healthy community" Purpose

Our purpose and values are to encourage greatness; embody excellence; display professionalism; empathy; courage; valuing culture; tradition and integrity and deliver a service second to none. Mission Statement

The Mission is to deliver the services being ever aware of the tasks we own and the people receiving our services. How we approach the members responsibilities How we approach our responsibilities C are P lanning H umility R esourcefulness E mpathy I ntegrity A ccountability D ynamic M otivated E xcellence

 

Chief and Council Portfolios

In order to achieve a more consistent and balanced workload among elected leadership, the following tasks and outcomes have been developed for Council to advance grouped issues on a political level.

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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.

 

Hunting and Fishing

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.

 

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 ...

 

Pilalt Society Info

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 ...

 

 

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 ...