Chawathil First Nation

The History Of Our Nation

The Chawathil First Nation, nestled in the majestic mountains of the Fraser Valley, has called this land home for thousands of years. Located 140 km east of Vancouver, BC, our traditional territory once encompassed much of what is now the community of Hope and its surrounding areas.

As Sto people, known as the “river people,” our lives have always been intertwined with the river and the land. The Sto share a common language, Halq’eméylem (Hal-ko-me-lem), a language of the Coast Salish family. This language binds us together and connects us to our ancestors and the land.

Throughout history, we have relied on the rich natural resources of our territory to sustain our people and our way of life. Fishing, hunting, and gathering were not only means of survival but also integral parts of our culture and traditions. Our communal lifestyle has thrived on the wisdom and guidance of our Knowledge Holders and elders, who have passed down the teachings of living in harmony with the land.

Chawathil First Nation
Chawathil First Nation

In our traditional territory, we moved across the land, using the resources it provided. Today, we continue to honor these practices, utilizing these resources for both economic and traditional purposes. Our natural resources remain vital to our community’s well-being and cultural heritage.

The Chawathil First Nation, also known as Chowéthel in Halkomelem, is a proud member of the Sto
Nation and a member government of the Stó:lō Tribal Council. Our main reserve, Chawathil 4, is situated near Katz, a station of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and comprises nearly 90% of our total landbase. We also manage other reserves, including Hope 1, Schkam 2, Greenwood Island 3, and Tunnel 6.

In addition to our rich cultural heritage, we actively engage in various economic ventures, including the operation of the Telte-yet Campground located on the banks of the Fraser River in downtown Hope. This campground not only provides economic benefits but also serves as a means to share our beautiful land and culture with visitors.

Our governance structure is based on a custom electoral system, with Chief Chetlámetleqw Norman Florence and our dedicated council, including Monica Florence, Audrey George, Kelsey John, Aaron Peters, Ruth Peters, and Timothy Peters, leading our community. With a total registered population of 645, we strive to uphold our traditions, foster growth, and ensure the well-being of our people.

At the Chawathil First Nation, we continue to honor our past, embrace our present, and look forward to a future where our traditions and community thrive. We remain committed to preserving our culture, respecting our elders, and nurturing the land that has sustained us for millennia.

For more information or to connect with us, please contact our administration office at reception@chawathil.org or call (604) 869-9994. We welcome you to learn more about our history, culture, and community.

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