Thousands of years ago, long before contact, there were strong First Nations Peoples in a beautiful Valley Territory. These early First Nation Peoples were the original Members of the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe. The original villages of the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe were around Ts’elxwéyeqw (Chilliwack) Lake, in a portion of their Traditional Territory, which is today referred to as the Chilliwack River Valley. The Territory rich in natural resources beams with the history, culture and tradition of the founding First Peoples – The Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe.
In the mid-18th century, with the creation of the Indian Act, the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribes, once strong and territorial based First Nations, became nine Indian Act First Nation Communities. The modern-day Bands that constitute the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe include: Aitchelitz; Skowkale; Shxwhá:y; Soowahile; Squiala; Tzeachten and Yakweakwioose. Today, most of the current Ts’elxwéyeqw Reserves are within the greater Chilliwack area. Extensive archaeological and historical evidence is now being assembled, documenting the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe’s original areas around Ts’elxwéyeqw (Chilliwack) Lake and throughout the valley of mountains, streams and lands defined by the Ts’elxwéyeqw (Chilliwack) River.
The Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribes have now identified and documented 65 former cultural, village and traditional sites throughout the Chilliwack River Watershed. New connections, with an old history of one of the Province’s earliest First Nations Communities, are now being brought forward to share with today’s society. Ts’elxwéyeqw is Halkomelem word which in English means “as far upriver as you can go before having to switch to a pole”. Ts’elxwéyeqw is also the Halkomelem name of the Chilliwack River.
The total on-Reserve and off-Reserve community members within the seven Ts’elxwéyeqw Communities are approximately 1,920. Most of the Ts’elxwéyeqw First Nations communities have a Chief and Council system, either with a hereditary Chief or an elected Chief and an elected Council. The Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, through their Chiefs, formed the Board of Directors of the various Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe business operations. The Ts’elxwéyeqw extensively involves their community members in the Tribe’s operations, through their committee structures and regular community meetings. The Ts’elxwéyeqw business and operations on a day-to-day-basis are professionally managed by a management team. The Ts’elxwéyeqw uses an extensive team of trusted professional advisors, to assist and advise them on all their initiatives.