Sumas First Nation – Abbotsford, British Columbia
The Sema:th people were known as the fierce wolf people and were a part of the larger Stό:lō Nation.
Sema:th lake and waterways formed an integral part of our community and our traditional way of life.
The Traditional names for our water ways are: Stόtelō or Sumas River, translating to “little Creek”, SeÍ:tslehōq’ or Marshall Lonzo Creek, translating to “Sand Drifting;” and Q’élem or Saar Creek, translating to “came” or “rest”.
Our lands were central to the Coast Salish territory; and our families moved freely amongst our villages to gather food and practice ceremony. Our traditional lands include Sumas Mountain, Sema:th lake and drainage of the Stat′lo′ (streams) which lead into it.
It extended south across the (present day) border, and northward taking in the Stό:lō (Fraser) bank at Sumas Mountain, and crossed the river into the Coastal Mountains.
There were 7 villages that were part of Sema:th, and our lands encompassed over 20,000 acres. The main upper Sema:th village of Kw’ekw’e’Í:qk was located at our present-day reserve site, which is only fraction of our traditional territory. Our neighbours called this area “Kilgard,” which name refers to a kiln brickwork factory that was operating near one of our present administration offices.
To this day, many people still refer to our community by this name.