Tsleil-Waututh Nation: A quick rewind of colonial history
3204 years ago Tsleil-Waututh Nation ancestors paddled the waters off Whey-ah-Wichen (Cates Park). They hunted and
gathered, living in harmony with the local environment for thousands of years.
87 years ago as the local forests were cut down, the Dollar Mill established operations and created a settlement (Dollar’s
Town) for its workers. The route to the outside world was, for the most part, by way of the Burrard Inlet.
85 years ago the Cedarside Mill was established nearby, at what is now Little Cates Park.
74 years ago the Dollarton highway was built as an economic development tool to connect Dollarton with North Vancouver and
Vancouver. At the same time, a squatter community was established
at Roche Point, which is now the shoreline of Cates Park.
50 years ago one of Canada’s most famous authors was forced out of his North Vancouver "paradise.”
Malcolm Lowry wrote one of the finest books of
the 20th Century during his 14-year intermittent
residency in the “Lazy Bay” squatter community.
46 years ago the last of the 90 squatter’s homes
were demolished at Roche Point and adjacent
45 years ago bulldozers and workers developed Cates Park, with grass fields, paths, and boat
35 years ago thousands of youth gathered in Cates Park from around North America to initiate a new form of
cultural gathering—to protest and to drop out. The Pleasure Faire
was a counterculture event with music, performance, politics, and
33 years ago the squatter settlement at Maplewood Flats was
burned down to make way for a proposed shopping centre.
15 years ago another generation of youth gathered in Cates Park to celebrate youth culture and political issues and broke
new ground with cross-cultural and interdisciplinary work.
4 years ago the North Vancouver District and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation formally signed a Cates Park / Whey-ah-Wichen protocol /
Tsleil-Waututh Nation use of Whey-ah-Wichen
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation once numbered
thousands throughout their territories. This
expanse is now referred to as Vancouver, the
North Shore, and the entirety of Indian Arm.
“We know our numbers were around
10,000. They lived seasonally, Belcarra
was the winter village and in the spring
and summer, the people scattered to
different summer villages.“
- Leah George, Tsleil Waututh Nation
Cates Park, or Whey-ah-Wichen, was
one of these villages. An archaelogical
investigation was made by the North
Vancouver District, in consultation with
the Tsleil-Waututh, and found Cates Park
to be one of the few remaining large
archaeological sites in the Lower Mainland.
Resting in the earth at the Under the
Volcano Festival are artifacts from the
Tsleil-Waututh Peoples. Many of these were
stolen by treasure-seekers digging in Cates
Park during the 1950-90 period, including
household implements and tools. In 1999,
human remains were discovered where the
shore is being eroded by the tide. These
were found to be some 300 years old.
The Nation’s use of the Park goes beyond
an archaelogical forum, but is centred
in member’s daily and annual activities.
Community celebrations such as traditional
canoe races (held in the 1990s) bring out the
community as it hosts other Salish Nations,
and First Nations from around the continent.
Some efforts have been made to restore
representation of Tsleil-Waututh culture in
the Park, including installed work by artist
Damien George, a new entrance sign by Glen
George, and proposed work by Mark George.
Whey-ah-Wichen Cultural Heritage Project
Under the Volcano has embarked on a new initiative, “Whey-ah-Wichen Cultural Heritage Project” to better
connect settlers and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. We are
currently fundraising for the installation of a permanent
sculpture by a Nation artist in recognition of a new Cates
Park joint-management agreement between the Nation and
the District of North Vancouver.
For more information, to share your story, or donate time or money
visit www.whey-ah-wichen.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Feast on a traditional salmon dinner prepared on the barbeque. All
proceeds benefit a community program of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
Volcano Takaya Canoe Tour
1, 2, 3, and 4pm (program repeats four times)
This program offers the authentic First Nation experience of water
travel in traditional style ocean-going canoes. Learn about the area
while enjoying a 45-minute leisurely paddle on the ocean waters off
Whey-ah-Wichen/Cates Park with our First Nation’s guides.
This is a special reduced-price offer from Under the Volcano and
Takaya Tours (www.takayatours.com) and is designed to introduce
our Festival patrons to the legends of the area and the cultural
history of Burrard Inlet (Typical tours are 2-5 hours in length and
$50-150 in price). Pre-register to hold seats for you and your
friends and family by emailing: email@example.com, include
your name, contact information, number of seats, and preferred
time. Payment by cash at the time of departure. Adults: $16.05
(includes GST); children (12 + under) $5.35 (includes GST). Meet
the group at the Takaya Tours booth at the Festival, situated
between the Food Fair and Info Fair. Following an orientation, we
will proceed as a group to the Boat Launch.
First Nations Children’s Storytelling
2:45pm Tsleil-Waututh Artist and father, Damien George, shares
stories for children in the Volcano Kid’s Zone.
Children of Takaya
3:40pm Performing on the Festival MainStage
(*For details read the artists bios)
Traditional Plant Walk
4:30pm Kids & adults alike will enjoy this walkabout through the
forest with our guide, Damien George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
Listen to ancient knowledge and wisdom of traditional methods
used for identifying and harvesting indigenous flora & fauna.
(approx. 75 minutes)