Maplewood Flats, North Vancouver, B.C.

Looking northwest from Burnaby Mountain Park, Stitsma is located on the north side of the inlet.
Chi’yak on Maplewood Flats, Burrard Inlet. The remains of this maple wood fish trap are 1,300 years old.

Stitsma was a popular fishing location for Skwxwú7mesh 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.

Skwxwú7mesh people use different technologies for fishing. The visible remains of an ancient inter-tidal fish weir (fish trap) or chi’yakare 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 Europeans, 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, Skwxwú7mesh people harvested the rich marine resources of səl̓ilw̓ət (Burrard Inlet) for generations. Although techniques have changed through time, fishing remains an important cultural practice.

Additional information

  • 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, British Columbia.
  • 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 TheSquamish 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.