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News

A new, safer cemetery for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation members is in the early planning stages thanks to $687,000 in new funding received from the First Nation Land Management Resources Centre and the First Peoples Cultural Council.  

This historical cemetery, currently located at setɬamékmən (Coquitlam I.R. 2), is a sacred resting place, not only for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm members but also for friends and relatives from other First Nation communities including Katzie, Kwantlen, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Tsleil-Waututh as well as from more distant communities such as Shíshálh (Sechelt) and Hwlitsum Nations.  The first recorded burial in the cemetery goes back as early as 1892.

 

“Flooding of our existing cemetery has been a serious issue for several decades now due to rising levels of water from the Coquitlam Lake Watershed,” states George Chaffee, Councillor for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.

“This new cemetery will allow us to address these issues and also ensure that the gravesites of our ancestors and loved ones will be protected for future generations to honour and respect,” he added.

Under the direction of kʷikʷəƛ̓əm leadership (Chief and Council), Elders and other members who wish to provide input, the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Historical Cemetery Project will address these key areas:

  • Resolve the current water issues.
  • Restore any existing gravesites and markers that are under water.
  • Protect and improve areas of the site to avoid future flooding.
  • Enhance the existing site by building a new entrance gate, seating, grave markers, high-quality landscaping and a memorial monument.  

One of the first activities that will take place is the identification of existing grave sites in, and near, the cemetary. Using ground-penetrating radar, this sensitive work will be guided by the Nation's Archaeologist, Nicole Oakes from Brown & Oakes Archaeology, to ensure there is no disturbance to any of the existing gravesites. Many of the grave markers have been moved, stolen and/or damaged leading many of the grave sites located in, and near, the Cemetery to be unmarked.  

kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation secured a grant of $300,000 from the First Nation Land Management Resources Centre and a grant of $387,000 from the First Peoples' Cultural Council towards this Historical Cemetery.  The project will take place from April 1, 2022, with an expected completion date of November 30, 2023.  

Protecting and caring for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Historical Cemetery is an important part of strengthening our community and honouring our ancestors and loved ones.  Community feedback is very important to honouring relatives and family members who have passed and to helping the Nation develop a shared community vision for the Cemetery.  Towards this goal, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm leadership and staff can arrange meetings with members who wish to share information about Cemetery history and use.

If you would like to provide input into the planning of the new Historical Cemetery, please contact:
Iona Ferguson
Email: iona.ferguson@kwikwetlem.com.

If you would like to share information about the Cemetery history or use, please contact:
Nicole Oakes 
Email: nicole@brownoakesarch.com.