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Title: Musqueam  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: George Vancouver, Lower Mainland, Vancouver, Fraser River, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Wreck Beach, Stanley Park, Simon Fraser (explorer), Bowen Island, History of British Columbia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Musqueam Indian Band is a First Nations government in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and is the only Indian band whose reserve community lies within the boundaries of the City of Vancouver


The name Musqueam relates to the grass məθkʷəy̓ which grew in throughout the community of Musqueam. It was noted that in some periods the məθkʷəy̓ grass flourished, and in some periods it could scarcely be found. It was also noted that in some periods the Musqueam people would flourish and in some periods the population would dwindle, perhaps by a plague or war. In this way the people became known as the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm or Musqueam.


The Musqueam are the oldest-known residents of Vancouver. Located near their main residential area is the Musqueam midden, also known as the Great Fraser Midden, a thousands-year old deposit of shells and other household debris. Formerly there was a second residential area near the current one, maləy̓. The area of the Musqueam Reserve is the closest Hudson's Bay Company explorer Simon Fraser made it to the Strait of Georgia; he was driven back by hostile Musqueam who had had bad experiences with white men on ships just previously. The chief Whattlekainum of the Kwantlen warned Fraser of an impending attack which is said to have saved his life.

Musqueam’s ancestors have lived in the Fraser River estuary for thousands of years. Their traditional territory encompasses the lands, lakes and streams defined and included by a line commencing at Harvey Creek in Howe Sound and proceeding Eastward to the height of land and continuing on the height of land around the entire watershed draining into English Bay, Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm; South along the height of land between Coquitlam River and Brunette River to the Fraser River, across to the South or left bank of the Fraser River and proceeding downstream taking in the left Bank of the main stream and the South Arm to the sea, including all those intervening lands, islands and waters back along the sea shore to Harvey Creek, and the sea, its reefs, flats, tidal lands and islands adjacent to the above described land and out to the centre of Georgia Strait.


Main article: Halkomelem

Their traditional language, now nearly extinct, is hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, the Downriver Dialect of the Salishan language Halkomelem, and they are closely related to neighbouring peoples of the lower Fraser River. The nearby Kwantlen and Katzie peoples just upriver share the same Hun'qumi'num' dialect, while the upriver Sto:lo people speak another dialect, Halq’əméyləm (known as the Upriver Dialect). The Straits Salish peoples of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands of the southern Gulf of Georgia speak another dialect, Hul'qumi'num' (usually spelled Hulquminum). Musqueam is currently the centre of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ revitalization.

Indian Reserves

Template:GeoGroupTemplate Indian Reserves under the administration of the band are:[1]

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