The Shaman doctor who trained and fasted for many years to receive the power to help heal anyone who was sick.
The prophet who had a special gift to prophesize, interpret, and give advice.
For thousands of years, the Squamish valued the wisdom and advice of these leaders.
The Squamish endured many chapters and catalysts of change through Creation stories, first ancestors, times of megafauna, ice ages, and the great flood.
We always relied on our laws and values of kindness and generosity in helping one another persevere through difficult times.
Unfortunately, a time came when the glaciation period came to an end causing major global flooding, fish and game became scarce, people became esyukw-stingy and greedy, and began to fight and ignore the old ways.
The Prophet warned the people that they must come back to their teachings and predicted that great danger loomed.
Many young people scoffed at this suggestion and ridiculed the old ways.
Soon, the rivers began to swell, and flooding became extremely hazardous. Villages began to succumb to the flooding as sea levels rose drastically, decimating many villages.
A handful of families adhered to the advice to care for one another and share their food and supplies. The medicine people painted sticks with red ochre and placed them into the mountainside, which would stop the rising flood temporarily.
Ice Cap Peak
Mt. Baker to the South
Families tied their canoes together in flotillas and anchored to the mountains as safe refuge from the catastrophe.
The waters were so torrent some canoes went adrift.
Fish and game were scarce, and the medicine people seemed to lose their power.
Eventually, the waters subsided, and the people returned to their ancestral homelands.
They were traumatized and mourned the loss of their loved ones.
Over time, the lands replenished with food sources and the medicine people restored their healing powers.
The resilience of the people allowed them to enter an era of ta swa7s ts’its’ap, establishing leagues of professionals that created value chains and wealth.
The people were humbled by the chaos they endured and celebrated the fact that they are the direct descendants of those that survived and kept the ways of our people alive.
It is said that the painted sticks became petrified along with some of the cedar rope that tied the canoes to the mountains and remain along the tops of the three sacred mountains. These mountains continue to be held with great reverence by the Squamish People, and are considered sacred out of gratitude for the safe haven they offered during the Great Flood.
This flood story is a universal story told by many cultures around the world. The ancient memory of these events ties many cultures together as canoes went in many directions allowing people to repopulate the lands once the waters subsided. It is a good lesson on the fragility of society and the raw power of nature.
Our mandate is to develop, manage and own the active businesses of the Nation. Nch’ḵay̓ was created to allow for the separation of business and governance within the Squamish Nation.
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