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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 ...

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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 ...