The Tribe has been entrusted with the stewardship of the Traditional Land where it exercises Aboriginal Rights and Title on behalf of the seven member communities. Ts’elxwéyeqw values that play important roles in overall ecosystem health such as wildlife, soils, species and ecosystems at risk, air quality, water quality, fish, wildfire, and more, need to be managed wholistically to effectively steward the Traditional Territory, and preserve Ts’elxwéyeqw cultural sites and traditions and connect past and future generations (Tómiyeqw).
Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe is actively leading and participating in multiple projects that assess the current state of these values and, when completed, will provide a stewardship framework for future generations, within the Traditional Territory. Here are some projects we have been busy with!
Our terrestrial based research projects explore the landscape of the ancestral home of the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe. Our most recent alpine based investigations looked at the impact and influence of colonization on the land, such as climate change, recreation use and logging. Airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging) gathered baseline data to be used as reference for quantitative and qualitative impacts to forestry, cultural sites, and heritage. Ground truthing these high elevation environments further supplemented the LiDAR data. We gathered water, soil, and tree-ring core samples from upper alpine locations to better understand the health of the terrestrial ecosystems in the Chilliwack River Watershed.
Water, air, and soil are the foundations on which all ecosystems are built. The Ecological Studies and Stewardship Planning project is a comprehensive and cohesive study which will present the overall health of the Traditional Territory and how it may have changed over time. Findings and recommendations for conservation can be incorporated into the Ts’elxwéyeqw Old Growth Strategy.
Activities so far have included:
- Core sampling of glaciers.
- Soil, water, and plant sampling of recently planted, second growth, and old growth forests at Sxótsaqel / Chilliwack Lake.
- Installing an air quality monitoring station at the south end of Sxótsaqel Chilliwack Lake.
- A high elevation study (above 1300m elev.) of seven sites where samples of water, soils, and tree cores were extracted. In addition, wildlife cameras were installed, and cultural and archaeological surveys were completed.
Some current restoration projects in development aim to improve aquatic habitat for salmonids and other species of concern in the Chilliwack River Watershed and Vedder floodplain. Working in collaboration with the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance and Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition, these projects also look to increase capacity by providing technical training to the S’ólh Téméxw Guardians for monitoring and maintenance activities, invasion, and bioengineering.
Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe in collaboration with BC Parks, is drafting a multi-year, park management plan for Sxótsaqel / Chilliwack Lake Park, including the recent renaming of the park to reflect its Halq’eméylem place name. The plan will identify stewardship issues relating to Ts’elxwéyeqw heritage, spiritual and cultural values, water quality, protection of natural values, ecological integrity, and management of recreational uses among other areas. It is the only such plan in S’ólh Téméxw, and one of few within the Province of British Columbia.
Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe has collaborated and co-developed the S’ólh Téméxw Guardian program. The S’ólh Téméxw Guardians monitor cultural heritage sites and environmental hotspots in the Ts’elxwéyeqw tribal territory, as well as concerns relating to wildlife.
Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe collaborates on the CoVIST (Conservation of Species, Ecosystems and Indigenous Values in S’ólh Téméxw) project that helps to manage species at risk in our traditional territory. In partnership with the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance (STSA), Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship (LWRS) and federal government, CoVIST aims to conduct landscape-scale planning to focus conservation efforts in areas that optimize benefits for Species at Risk and Indigenous Values. Some proposed actions include habitat protection, restoration and enhancement, stewardship, or land securement.
TTML is developing Old Growth Strategy and Cedar Management Strategies for Ts’elxwéyeqw Traditional Territory. These strategies are aimed at protecting vulnerable forests ecosystems, enhancing biodiversity, and ensuring that cedar of all sizes and ages is available for future generations. The strategies will guide forestry practices in Ts’elxwéyeqw Territory.
The Tribe has been entrusted with the stewardship of the Traditional Territory where it exercises Aboriginal Rights and Title on behalf of the seven member communities. Our stewardship initiatives ensure that the Tribe’s natural resources are sustainably maintained, preserving Ts’elxwéyeqw cultural sites and traditions and connecting past and future generations (Tómiyeqw).
Here are some projects we have been busy with!
In November of 2021, British Columbia announced its intention to develop a province-wide strategy for the conservation of old growth forests. With this announcement came the deferral harvesting of select forest areas deemed to be ecologically important. Unfortunately, these areas were identified and announced with no First Nations consultation or input and were based on very high-level information which was known locally to be inaccurate. As such, the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe lobbied the province to create its own Old Growth Strategy for the Traditional Territory and, after a year and a half, has been given consent to form a collaborative table.
Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe is now in the process of creating an Old Growth Strategy that not only includes plant and age diversity, but also plans for wildlife, soils, water quality, and cultural values. The goal of the Strategy is to create a wholistic plan for all values with connectivity throughout the Territory. Currently the Tribe is taking inventory on the presence of old growth forests in the Territory and assessing where ecosystems and biodiversity protections are needed. The next step will be to look at areas where wildlife and cultural protections are needed and incorporate those into the Plan. When the Old Growth Strategy is implemented, we will have a plan that enables long-term effective stewardship of the values within the Traditional Territory.
Cedar has always been at the heart of First Nations’ Peoples on the British Columbian coast. This tree has been used in most facets of everyday life in the forms of clothing, tools, canoes, houses, and art. Unfortunately, past timber harvesting and reforestation practices have made cedar, especially old growth cedar, rare in many watersheds. Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe is leading a collaborative project to develop a long-term Cedar Strategy for the Traditional Territory that will ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy and use this essential tree.
To date, we have performed a comprehensive inventory of cedar using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) within our study area. We have also modelled the study area to show where cedar is likely to grow best, now and in the future. The next step is to engage Community members to gain an understanding where it may be traditionally important to find cedar and what kind of access (eg. roads, trails, slope steepness) is needed to carry out cultural work. The final output will be to set aside areas for long-term cedar growth, areas where activities will be managed to maintain younger cedar populations, and guidelines for cedar regeneration in Ts’elxwéyeqw Traditional Territory.
Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe is contributing to a study on Forest Ecosystem Resiliency and Adaptability that is being carried out and contributed to by universities, governments, and private entities across the entirety of Canada. The project’s purpose is to develop and test innovative forest management approaches across Canada to adapt and mitigate current and future global change stressors.
The goals of the project are:
- To produce a resilience and vulnerability model
- Identification and selection of suitable tree species to plant
- Functional complex network evaluation
- Simulation of various forest management approaches under global change
- Evaluate socio-economic and governance conditions
- Establishment of alternative silvicultural treatments and multi-species plantations
The Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) is a landscape level plan, which is focused on establishing results, strategies and measures for conserving and/or protecting timber and non-timber resource values associated with forest management activities.
The FSP states measurable and enforceable results, strategies and/or measures that must be consistent with objectives set by government for a variety of forest values (e.g. fisheries, wildlife, water, biodiversity, cultural values, visuals, recreation, etc.). Forest licensees work in cooperation with government agencies, First Nations, various stakeholders and the general public to ensure that the provincial government’s objectives for the management, protection and conservation of forest resources are achieved.
Please click here to view Ts’elxwéyeqw Forestry Limited Partnership’s (TFLP) supporting information.
Community Support and Engagement
TTML operates in a manner beneficial to the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe and the Stó:lō people, budgeting annually for its sponsorship program, open to Tribe members, which includes categories such as: Community events, sports teams, fundraising support, education bursaries and wood donations for cultural uses.
The annual Golf tournament is always a popular event!
Prior to 2020, the Stó:lō Children’s Festival was a fun an interactive event for children and families. We hope to be able to provide information and support to our communities for this event again soon!
The People of the River Referrals Office (PRRO) began operating in 2012, working on behalf of the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance (STSA) communities. Through the web-based portal Stó:lō Connect, the PRRO provides administrative support and technical review of referral submissions from interested governments, industry, and corporation, looking to develop within S’ólh Téméxw. The PRRO staff receive, analyze, report on and track referrals and facilitates info-sharing and engagement internally among STSA communities and externally between STSA, governments, and industry. Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe is part of STSA and works closely with PRRO in processing referrals on land and natural resource related projects proposed within the Tribe’s traditional territory.
We strive for service excellence by fostering a culture of trust and approachability, improving operations to best support, respond and be accountable to community members. Our website aims to be a hub of information for members to use for planning, communication, and updates.
In 2019, Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe published a book titled, Being Ts’elxwéyeqw: First Peoples’ Voices and History from the Chilliwack-Fraser Valley, British Columbia. The 303-page book is full of more than 700 images and stories from past and present elders and community members that have been passed along for hundreds of years. Copies are for sale at the Stó:lō Gift Shop on Vedder Road.
Dotted around the Chilliwack River Valley are information kiosks presenting photos and descriptions about Ts’elxwéyeqw culture – from native plant species to known historical traditions and educational points of interest. These kiosk signs are informative and interesting! Check them out!