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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 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 ...

 

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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