Stitsma - Maplewood Flats, North Vancouver, British Columbia
Stitsma was a popular fishing location for Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) people. It was located at Ch’ich eliwxih on a former channel of the Seymour River near present day Maplewood Flats. The meaning of this place name is uncertain, however, Stitsma was known for an abundance of salmon, trout, and Dungeness crab.
Skwxwu7mesh people use different technologies for fishing. The visible remains of an ancient inter-tidal fish weir (fish trap) or chi’yak, are found at Stitsma. Although fish weirs vary in design, they are essentially fences made from wooden stakes and placed in shallow waterways. Water can flow through a weir but fish are obstructed when attempting to swim around or through the structure, making it easier for people to catch them. Archaeologists date the maple wood weir at Stitsma to 1,300 years ago. It is an example of selective and sustainable fishing technology used long before contact with European people.
After contact with European people, gaff hooking was a fishing technique used at Stitsma. A gaff-hook was made of sharp iron that attached to a pole. The hook was held under the water’s surface. This technique worked best in shallow waters, and was effective for catching all types of salmon and trout.
At Stitsma, Skwxwu7mesh people harvested the rich marine resources of Burrard Inlet for generations. Although techniques have changed through time, fishing remains an important cultural practice.
Stitsma is best viewed from the hillock above the parking lot at Burnaby Mountain Park. It is easiest to locate at low tide. The flats are located in North Vancouver - east of the 2nd Narrows Bridge and off the old Dollarton Highway.
Bouchard, Randy, and Dorothy Kennedy
1986 Squamish Nation Land Use And Occupancy. Report submitted to
Squamish Nation Chiefs and Council, BC Indian Language Project, Victoria,
1976a Knowledge And Usage of Land Mammals Birds, Insects, Reptiles And
Amphibians By The Squamish Indian People Of British Columbia. BC Indian
Language Project, Victoria, British Columbia.
1976b Utilization Of Fish, Beach Foods, And Marine Mammals By The
Squamish Indian People Of British Columbia. BC Indian Language Project,
Victoria, British Columbia.
Bouchard, Randy, and Nancy Turner
1976 Ethnobotany Of The Squamish Indian People Of British Columbia. BC
Indian Language Project, Victoria, British Columbia.
Matthews, John S.
1955 Conversations with Khatsahlano. Compiled by The City Archivist
Vancouver, British Columbia