Chief Alice Thompson, of Leq’á:mel First Nation, is also known by her traditional name, Mae’xe, and has been a community leader for the band since April 2000.
Leq’á:mel means the level place where people meet. This area was once a popular trading stop within the heart of the Stó:lō Coast Salish territory.
Connection to the river
Stó:lō means “people of the river” and this has always been an important part of our culture; it is fluid and ever-moving and was the highway between communities for both trade and commerce. It also continues to provide sustenance, with sturgeon and many varieties of salmon migrating here each year.
Connection to the land
We remain stewards of the land. It has provided us with the opportunity to hunt and gather plants often used as medicines and household items; for example, the cedar tree has many uses including its cleansing properties, the bark is used for clothing and weaving, and the wood for vessels and homes. We believe in sustainability and are mindful to ensure that these harvests continue to be available for future generations.
Culture and Heritage
The traditional language is Halq'eméylem, which originated in Leq’á:mel traditional territory and spread both up and down the river, with variations also used on Vancouver Island and as far as Washington State.
Our philosophy is based on Seven Generations, meaning we should always be mindful of where we came from and also look forward to how our decisions today will affect those who will come after us. Today we look to our past and how this can interconnect with the modern world.