The Ts’elxwéyeqw are the First People of the Chilliwack River Watershed in the Central Fraser Valley of southwestern British Columbia. Our tribal name, ‘Ts’elxwéyeqw’ is commonly known in English as ‘Chilliwack’. We are one of the tribes of the Stó:lō (Stah-lo) – People of the River – as our livelihood was very much connected to the Fraser River. Ts’elxwéyeqw is one of the major river systems of the lower Fraser River Watershed and extends into northwestern Washington State. We are part of the broader Coast Salish collective whose lands surround the Salish Sea of the North American Pacific Northwest. Halq’eméylem is the ‘upriver’ dialect of the Halkomelem language spoken by Ts’elxwéyeqw and our relatives between the Fraser Canyon near Yale, throughout the Lower Fraser Valley around Vancouver, and across the Georgia Strait to southeastern Vancouver Island around Nanaimo.
Our Seven First Nations of the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe are Ăthelets, Shxwhá:y, Sq’ewqéyl, Sxwoyehálá, Th’ewá:li, Ch’íyáqtel, and Yeqwyeqwí:ws. The more commonly known ‘anglicized’ versions of these names are: Aitchelitz, Shxwhá:y Village, Skowkale, Squiala, Soowahlie, Tzeachten and Yakweakwioose, as a result of the creation of our Indian Act Bands and Reserves. Before the arrival of Europeans in the early 1800’s, we had many more named villages located all along the rivers and creeks of the watershed that carry our tribal name – Ts’elxwéyeqw.