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 ...
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 ...