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

54-40 thrills Aldergrove Fair crowd: VIDEO

54-40 were joined on stage by the band members’ dancing children, the “Aldergrove Rockettes”

ZONE 3: Luck played no part in getting Riley Ward to the BC Games

Langley baller flouts misfortune on the floor; he’d rather get by on hard work

Third straight loss ends Langley’s Junior B Thunder season

The local squad could not snare a win against the Port Coquitlam Saints.

Giants bringing Point Roberts talent to Langley

The Vancouver Giants have announced a new signing.

VIDEO: New doctors, but fewer spaces for patients in Langley

Retirements have left some Langley residents without a family physician.

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Fraser Surrey Docks mechanic dies on the job

‘This is a very sad day - a worker went to his job this morning and didn’t go home’

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan


A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Most Read