Belcarra Peninsula, Port Moody

Present day Belcarra Peninsula was the site of təmtəmíxʷtən which was located near the small cove and docs in this image. Photo by Charles Do
Site of təmtəmíxʷtən at present day Belcarra Park. Photo by Skye Constable.

təmtəmíxʷtən is a səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) ancestral village site located on the Belcarra Peninsula in present day Belcarra Park. This hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Hun’qumyi’num) place name has multiple meanings including “lots of land” and “the biggest place for all the people.”

From time out of memory təmtəmíxʷtən has been the primary winter village of the səlilwətaʔɬ people, and is integral to the identity of the nation. The village is said to have been home to so many people that when ducks flew low overhead the peoples’ collective shouts would stun them out of the air to be gathered from the ground. People at təmtəmíxʷtən depended on marine and intertidal areas for supplying a large amount of their food; they fished for salmon, smelt, and herring, and gathered mussels, clams, and urchins. They also hunted black tailed deer and black bears. Archaeologists excavating at təmtəmíxʷtən have found wood working tools, as well as Salish wool dog and mountain goat bones, suggesting that people living in the village were heavily involved in wood carving and weaving blankets.

təmtəmíxʷtən has important ties to numerous events in səlilwətaʔɬ history and has associations with oral histories, great warriors, high chiefs or siʔem̓, as well as spiritual healers or šxʷneʔem. Unfortunately, illness introduced by Europeans took its toll on təmtəmíxʷtən. Between 1853-1861, səlilwətaʔɬ people stopped using it as a winter village, and began living in other places. Despite lack of permanent residence, they have continued to use the site into the present.

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.
  • Carter, Anthony. 1966  Somewhere Between. Anthony Carter, Vancouver.
  • George, Gabriel. 2018  Personal Communication. Tsleil-Waututh Nation 3075 Takaya Drive North  Vancouver, BC.
  • MacDonald, Colleen, Diana Drake, John Doerksen, and Michael Cotton. 1998  Between Forest and Sea: Memories of Belcarra, Belcarra Historical Group, Belcarra B.C.
  • Matthews, John S. 1955  Conversations with Khatsahlano. Compiled by The City Archivist  Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Morin, Jesse. 2015  Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s History, Culture and Aboriginal Interests in  Eastern Burrard Inlet (Redacted Version). Report prepared for Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Toronto, Ontario. Accessed online August 5, 2015,