təmtəmíxʷtən (Tum-tumay-whueton )- 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 səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (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 səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ 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 səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ 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, səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ people stopped using it as a winter village, and began living in other places. Despite this, they continued to use the site for decades afterward.  

Additional Information

Sources:

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,

          http://twnsacredtrust.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Morin-Expert-

          Report-PUBLIC-VERSION-sm.pdf