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sχʷəy̓em̓ (an ancient history)

The xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people have been here as long as there has been land to live upon. We have lived in our present location for thousands of years, and our traditional territory occupies what is now Vancouver and surrounding areas. Some of our sχʷəy̓em̓ (ancient histories) describe the landscape as it was over eight thousand years ago.

The name Musqueam relates back to the flowering plant, məθkʷəy̓, which grows in the Fraser River estuary.  There is a sχʷəy̓em̓ that has been passed on from generation to generation that explains how we became known as the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm – People of the məθkʷəy̓ plant.

The old people spoke of a small lake called xʷməm̓qʷe:m (Camosun Bog) where the sʔi:ɬqəy̓ (double-headed serpent) originated. They were warned as youth to be cautious and not go near or they would surely die. This sʔi:ɬqəy̓ was so massive its winding path from the lake to the stal̕əw̓ (river) became the creek flowing through Musqueam to this day. Everything the serpent passed over died and from its droppings bloomed a new plant, the məθkʷəy̓.

For this reason, the people of long ago named that place xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam – place of the məθkʷəy̓).

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Musqueam Through Time

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The Musqueam people have been here since the beginning.

From the beginning, through contact and to present Musqueam has practiced and maintains strong and proud traditions. Archaeological evidence at areas such as c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole) dates back in excess of 4,000 years and at St. Mungo's and Glenrose Cannery to 8,000 to 9,000 years. Enduring traditions have allowed Musqueam to continually sets precedents. From the youngest Elected Chief and Council in 1951 and ongoing legal precedents, such as the Guerin case (1984) and Sparrow Case (1990), "Musqueam Through Time" tells the story of a timeless culture that continues to guide not just the Musqueam people, but Canada as a whole.
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