Walking tours extend to Kwantlen traditional territories north of the river

The Langley-based first nation has extended its walking tours to Maple Ridge.

Eric Zimmer

Black Press

“They say that the one-headed serpent is not far from here,” says Fern Gabriel, of the Kwantlen First Nation.

She looks across the water wistfully.

“If you ventured out there, you would find him.”

An elder, she adds, once told her “he went to go sit on a log in the woods and the log took off.”

It’s one of a number of stories Gabriel shared on the shores of Whonnock Lake on Saturday, for the first of three tours.

“We haven’t done this here before,” she says. “But we’ve done it in Fort Langley.”

It seems the weather kept some people from attending the tour on Saturday, but Gabriel doesn’t seem to mind.

“Rain is cleansing, and it’s good for you,” she said.

“Where water meets land, it’s a healing place, so if you’re not feeling good, or you’re having a bad day it’s good to come to where water meets land, and put your feet in the water,” she says.

While their primary reserve is in Fort Langley, the Kwantlen First Nation has reserve lands and traditional territories well to the north of the Fraser River.

Gabriel explained the significance and importance of the Whonnock area to the Kwantlen First Nation.

“A land of plenty and abundance,” she says. “The location of the pink salmon.”

And salmon, she says, represent determination, intuition and resilience.

Why? “It’s the only animal that can climb mountains without arms or legs.”

She also explains the significance that the peaks of Golden Ears hold for her and her people:

“Kwantlen’s mountain,” she says. “Twin brothers who were transformed into stone after fighting over the love of a woman,” she says.

As for the woman?

“Transformed into a lake,” she says. “With the ability to capture and sweep people under.”

Gabriel explained why this story is important, and how it relates to Kwantlen culture, and the laws by which they live: Respect for one another, and one’s surroundings.

“It’s easy to be deceitful, hateful, and cranky. It takes a lot of work to be respectful,” she says.

“Health, happiness, humbleness, generosity, generation, forgiveness and understanding. We live by those seven laws within ourselves and it permeates out.”

On Sept. 24, and Oct. 1, Gabriel will once again host walking and story tours at Whonnock Lake, at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on both dates.

For more information, visit coastsalishtourism.ca.


Kwantlen First Nation series:

Sharing the tales, free summer walking tours

Market spotlights native culture

Education comes from more than books

Land and territory

Just Posted

Air ambulance called to scene after report of shots fired in Abbotsford

Incident Monday afternoon in the area of Ross and Simpson roads

Dog’s death on busy road raises fears

A hit and run by a large truck has a community concerned.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

Langley author pens tribute to the men and women of Canada’s military for Remembrance Day

‘A soldier, a sailor and an airman … stood before the Pearly Gates’

LETTER: Langley candidate pleasantly surprised by campaign

A local woman who ran for municipal council is grateful for the experience.

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Surging Rangers beat visiting Canucks 2-1

Goalie Lundqvist ties Plante on all-time wins list

Calgary 2026 leader expects close vote in Winter Games plebiscite

Residents to choose in a non-binding vote on Tuesday whether they want city to bid on 2026 Olympics

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

BCHLers on NHL Central Scouting players to watch list

The list includes seven current BCHL skaters

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Most Read