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Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation

Shxw’ōwhámél people are the Stólō and Coast Salish people of the Tiyt [teet]Tribe, now have a reserves 13 kilometers west of Hope BC along the Trans Canada Highway, another along the Lougheed Highway, anda third ocated north of Yale BC along Highway #1.

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Shxw’ōwhámél people (which means ‘where the river levels and widens’) are the Stólō and Coast Salish people of the Tiyt [teet]Tribe. The area around Shxw’ōwhámél has many points of importance, generally in the watersheds of Jones, Lorenzetti, and Hunter Creeks.

Just as Hope is of the Fraser Valley of British Columbia; Shxw’ōwhámél is part of the Tiyt Tribe of the Stólō Nation . Shxw’ōwhámél (Ohamil) I.R #1, is geographically located 13 kilometers west of Hope BC along the Trans Canada Highway. Shxw’ōwhámél also has 2 other reserves: Wahleach IR #2 located along the Lougheed Highway, and Xelhálh (kuth-lath) IR#3 located north of Yale BC along Highway #1.

Xelhálh holds special significance for us. Xelhálh was strategically placed overlooking the Fraser River, and was protected by a fortress and the river itself. The river in this area has several whirlpools and rapids which, back then, made it challenging to navigate to shore for any people unfamiliar with the area. In addition to the remnants of the fortress, Xelhálh was the home for a large number of people up until the 1850s. When the population was decimated by the smallpox epidemic our remaining ancestors were moved by the colonial government. The federal government moved our ancenstor to Shxw’ōwhámél trying to encourage them to pursue agricultural as way of building a substancial economy. This idea shifted our people away from relying on fishing, hunting, and gathering and trading between the communities.