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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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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 ...

 

Medicinal Plant Harvesting and Uses

Plant harvesting for medicinal purposes and food has been our common practice for as long as anyone can remember and a very important key to our way of life. There is a connection that our First Nation people have to our traditional plants. In Cheam we have a few members dedicated to traditional medicines and have their own back yard gardens containing our medicines. Harvesting is still practiced today and growing stronger and our younger generation is taking notice, this is good as the traditional medicines will not be lost and can be handed down to generations’ to come.

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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 ...

 

Projects

Short /long term strategic housing development plan The strategic housing development plan consist of staged development of new housing, that differs from surge housing development (build 10 homes wait five years), the idea is to develop at a consistent pace to allow for expansion of infrastructure and lot development to keep up.

Tenant training methods Tenant training: to provide tenants with a firm understanding of their responsibilities as a renter; leaser of a home including maintenance requirements of the tenant; budgeting methods; technics; as well as a better understanding of how a housing department budgets and how tenants contribute to the success of the program.

Call to action maintenance tracking system Although the process is not new, the methods for our housing program are. The purpose is to demonstrate accountability of the housing department; budget tracking; council reporting; maintenance use of time; maintenance trends and maintenance efficiency. Domestic issues / tenant behavior ...