First people of the Chilliwack River

Long before the city of Chilliwack was developed, the Chilliwack River ran through the Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) reserve. It was this majestic waterway that established our connection to the land. Our ancestor’s ingenuity developed fishing weirs to capture enough fish to feed everyone. Although visual evidence of where the river once flowed is gone, its significance is not forgotten. We will forever be known as the “place of the fish weir”. And even today, fishing is still a strong part of our everyday lives.

a black and white photo of a woman wearing a necklace
a black and white photo of an old building

From mountain to mountain

The Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) reserve covers 95 thousand hectares across the Chilliwack River Valley. We also share an additional 64.8 hectares of Grass reserve land with eight of Chilliwack's surrounding First Nation groups. Rich in culture, natural beauty, and resources, our ancestors traveled the territory to hunt, pick berries and fish. The land provided their necessities but also required extensive traveling and extended periods of time away as resources were seasonal.

A self-governing, connected nation, leading the way

Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) has strengthened its independence and economic stability with progressive land management, initiating property tax laws, and less reliance on government funding. Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) was also among the twenty-four First Nations who banded together in 1977 to create the Stó:lō Nation (SN). In 2004, 8 communities left to join the newly reconstituted Stó:lō Tribal Council. Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) is now one of the eleven bands that stayed with Stó:lō Nation and that chose to proceed with the treaty in 2005.

Our History

Pre-Contact
1782
1792-1808
1827-1858
1859
1864
1868
1876
1879
1886
1894
1896
1940
1970
1971
1995
1997
2008
2011
2012
2018
2020
2022
  • Smallpox Epidemic in Ts’elxwéyeqw/ Stó:lō.
  • First English & Spanish explorers enter Ts’elxwéyeqw/ Stó:lō.
  • Hudson’s Bay Company sets up trading posts in the heart of S’olh Temexw.

  • Gov. Douglas devises “Anticipatory Reserve” policy and is approved by Earl of Carnarvon.
  • Colonial Legislature asks Gov. Douglas to reduce Stó:lō Reserves.
  • May: William McColl marks out 11,800 acres of reserve land in Chilliwack (for 478 people).

  • October: Original Chilliwack reserves are eliminated and replaced with smaller ones by official’s from Trutch’s office.
  • November: Surveyors arrive and reduce Chilliwack reserves by 60%.

  • Indian Act enacted.

  • Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) Reserve set aside as woodlot to be used in common by the people of Yakweakwioose and Skowkale.
  • Methodist missionaries opened day school at Coqualeetza. A residence for boarding students was added in 1887.
  • Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) Reserve is defined as “anew and resurveyed”.
  • Chief William Augustine Hall becomes first Chief of Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten).
  • Coqualeetza Residential School closes. Students were transferred to the Alberni school.
  • Stó:lō Nation (Chilliwack Area Indian Council) opened on Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten).
  • Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) longhouse was built.

Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association began treaty negotiations. 

Included:

  • Self-Governance
  • Leaving Indian Act
  • Funds
  • Economic Opportunities
  • Land
  • Evolution of Treaty
  • Significant Changes
  • Possibility of Utilizing Tribes
  • Development of Ch’íyáqtel’s (Tzeachten) Vedder Crossing Plaza, Community Centre/Sports Field.
  • Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) Land Code Ratified. Lands committee formed TLMAC.
  • Financial Administration Law including 31 policies and financial system certification
  • Chief Glenda Campbell elected as the first female Chief of Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten).
  • Development of former CFB Lands including long term sustainability.
  • Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association is in stage 5 of treaty negotiations.
  • Development of longhouse completed.

Our 23 unit member housing complex officially opened with tenants moving in July 2022.

a group of people dressed in native american clothing

Language

The traditional language of the Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) people is Halq'eméylem which is the Upriver dialect spoken by 24 Stó lō First Nations along the Fraser River from Matsqui to Yale. It is an important aspect of our culture, and we strive to celebrate and practice Halq’eméylem within the community. We have improved the structure of the Ch’iyaqtel Halq’eméylem Language Program over the years, and we continue to build on the range of learning opportunities. In recent years, the Stó:lō Nation has established a database of Halq’eméylem language teachers and developed a language handbook with basic greetings.

Halq’eméylem

Our vision

Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) First Nation remains the keepers of our traditional territories, this responsibility being passed on to us by our ancestors and exercised through sound cultural, environmental, and socio-economic stewardship.

Our core values

We are grounded in culture never losing track of who we are, where we have been, and where we are going as Ch’íyáqtel (Tzeachten) people. We believe that respect is the foundation of all that we do. We realize that transparent and accountable communication leads to an informed and engaged membership and staff. We practice a strong work ethic, role-model attitudes and behaviors that inspire those around us. We understand that a safe and active community promotes healthy individuals and families.

a large wooden statue of a man holding a hat

Our focus area

1. General governance

Demonstrate responsible leadership ensuring honesty, integrity and transparency.

2. Economic development

To generate and manage wealth through active participation in the economy.

3. Lands & environment

To protect and preserve the land, habitat and environment for all generations.

4. Housing & infrastructure

To plan for and deliver the core housing and infrastructure needs for the community to thrive.

5. Health & social development

To create the conditions for our members to achieve greater health safety and social wellness.

6. Culture & community

To deliver high quality programs while promoting our language, traditions, and ceremonies.

Our mission

Tap on each letter below to see the full explanation of each point
Generating
Respecting
Organizing
Working
Trusting
Honoring
wealth and prosperity in our community through the creation of cultural, environmental, and socio-economical opportunities.
the needs of our members and staff by proactively promoting a healthy and safe community and workplace.
ourselves for success in the administrative, management and governance areas.
together I the spirit of collaboration and partnerships.
that our team has the inherent ability to succeed at our ambitious goals.
our past as we position ourselves for a future that pays respect to who we are as a people.
a building with a parking lot in front of it

Chief & Council

Chief Derek Epp
Chief Derek Epp
Hayden Guilderson
Hayden Guilderson
Jennifer Janik
Jennifer Janik
Anthony Malloway
Anthony Malloway
Loren Muth
Loren Muth

Youth Council

Ashley Kinkead
Ashley Kinkead
Jamie Ritchie
Jamie Ritchie

Management Team

Donna Hall
Donna Hall
Administration Department
Interim Chief Administrative Officer
Jolene Irons-McDivitt
Jolene Irons-McDivitt
Administration Department
Administrative Services & Communications Manager
Lori Falys
Lori Falys
Finance Department
Director of Finance
Deanna Honeyman
Deanna Honeyman
Lands Department
Manager, Lands & Taxation
Tyler Epp
Tyler Epp
Community Services Department
Director of Community Services
Antonia Malloway
Antonia Malloway
Community Services Department
Manager, Community Connections & Culture

Key cultural programs and activities within our community

Halq’eméylem Language Classes

We are advancing our traditions and heritage by teaching Halq’eméylem within the community as part of the revitalization, renewal, and revival of the Stó:lō language.

Traditional Foods Program

Fishing is a major livelihood for our people. Our people fish in the summer months for food. We fish for Sockeye, Spring and Dog Salmon, and on some occasions, Eulachon.

Upholding Traditions

Our Elders and members spend days in the Ch’íyáqtel kitchen canning fish for the winter. Our Traditional Foods Program also includes canned fruit and wild meat/game distribution.

Where key cultural programs and activities take place

Ch’íyáqtel Cemetery

We are teaching Halq’eméylem within the community as part of the revitalization, renewal, and revival of the Stó:lō language.

Long House

Fishing is a major livelihood for our people. Our people fish in the summer months for food. We fish for Sockeye, Spring and Dog Salmon, and on some occasions, Eulachon.

Ch’íyáqtel Community Hall

Our Elders and members spend days in the Ch’íyáqtel kitchen canning fish for the winter. Our Traditional Foods Program also includes canned fruit and wild meat/game distribution.

Career Opportunities

Looking for your next career move? We have some exciting opportunities.

Building Services Worker – On-Call

For full job description

Public Works & Housing Manager

For full job description