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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 ...

 

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 ...