Cultural Interpretation & Events
Cultural Place Names Tours
Bad Rock* Tours
Narrated Place Names Tours
By Naxaxalhts’i, Albert “Sonny” McHalsie
The Upriver Tour
Enjoy the scenic mountains and waterways of the Upper Fraser Valley. Listen and learn about the unique relationship between the Stó:lō, “the People of the River”, and their land and their environment through the narratives provided by Naxaxalhts’i, who has studied Halq’eméylem Place Names for over 28 years. Listen and see first hand the special significance of Halq’eméylem place names from the recent award winning Stó:lō publication entitled A Sto:lo-Coast Salish Historical Atlas. Learn about the three main dialects of Halkomelem and the many micro dialects of each, and the two main aspects of Stó:lō oral history including Sxwōxwiyám and Sqwelqwel, and learn about the unique relationship the Stó:lō maintain with their environment through their Shxwelí, “spirit, life force”.
Dress appropriately and wear comfortable shoes suitable for mild hiking to the special stops of interests including the fishing rock known as Kw’ikw’iyá:la(Coquihalla); the lake of origin for the sacred sxwó:yxwey mask; hear about the s’ó:lmexw or “waterbabies” and the mimestíyexw or the “little people” of the forest; see the remains of a sqémél (pithouse: or in Chinook “keekwillie”) last used in the 1880’s; and see where Xexá:ls the transformers left scratch marks at a place where he did battle with Xéylxelamós, an Indian Doctor; and hear about the stl’áleqem or spiritual beings.
Hear up to 120 Halq’méylem place names including the original names of Lhílheqey for Mt. Cheam, Ts’qó:ls for Hope, Xwoxwelá:lhp for Yale, and Xéylxelamós for Lady Franklin Rock, and many other Halq’eméylem Place Names.
* “Bad Rock” is an early historical reference to Lady Franklin Rock located in the middle of the Fraser River just upriver of the town of Yale B.C. Xéylxelamós was a shxwla:m (medicine man) who used his power to benefit himself and so was transformed by Xexá:ls, the Transformers, into this large rock named Xéylxelamós, but also known as lady Franklin Rock.
1. Smelá:lh Tour: for “worthy people” who know their history and want to learn more.
This full day tour begins at 9:00 a.m. in front of the Stó:lō Resource Centre, Building 10 at Kwikw’alith’a (Coqualeetza) located in Sardis at 7201 Vedder Road. (from the Trans Canada Highway #1, take Exit 119 and south on Vedder Road). From Kwikw’alith’a the tour begins on a scenic stretch of the Trans Canada Highway #1 at a leisurely pace of 80 km per hour and east towards Hope B.C., to Kawkawa Lake road and cross the “Coquihalla” River up to Kawkawa Lake. Return to Hope for lunch at approximately 11:30 to 12:00 noon. Stop at the Telte-Yet (Tel tít – meaning “from upriver”) Campsite to view the remains of a sqemel, “pithouse”, then north to Yale on the Trans- Canada Highway #1 and then on to the old Caribou Wagon Road to Lady Franklin Rock. Return on TCH #1, optional stop at Hope River Gas Bar/Arts and Crafts. At Haig the tour continues on the Lougheed Highway #7 west to Agassiz and then south on Highway #9 across the Agassiz Rosedale Bridge to Rosedale and then west on the Trans Canada Highway #1. We will return to Kwikw’alith’a (Coqualeetza) by 4:00 p.m..
2. S’téxem Tour: for “worthless people” who have forgotten their history and don’t have time to learn more.
This 3 hour tour follows the same route as above at maximum highway speed, less all the special stops of interest, and no lunch break.
3. Custom Tour: Either the Smelá:lh Tour or the S’téxem Tour with a starting point anywhere between Chilliwack and Hope with a starting time and end time as desired. This is usually helpful for school tours.
4. Sí:yá:m Tour: for those of “unblemished ancestry, good manners, extrahuman support and especially wealth.”
This tour can take up to 9 hours and starts at Xwoxwelá:lhp at Yale Beach and downriver by boat to Shxw’ōwhamel (Laidlaw) then by van to Kilby at the mouth of the Harrison River and then by boat to Harrison Lake near the Harrison Lake Hotel.