Welcome to the Stolo Tribal Council (STC) web site. STC is an aboriginal organization representing seven villages in the traditional Stolo territory. These villages include Shxw’ow’hamel, Seabird, Cheam, Chawathil, Kwaw Kwaw Apilt, Scowlitz, and Soowahlie.
The Stolo people are considered “People of the River” stemming from the Fraser Canyon to the mouth of the Fraser River. The Stolo are an extended family of the Coast Salish people.
There are 24 villages within the traditional Stolo Territory with a population of approximately 8,000 people.
The traditional language of the Stolo is the upriver dialect of Halq’emeylem which is part of the larger Salishan language family. The Stolo people have occupied these lands for thousands of years as archaeological evidence confirm this to about 10,000 years ago.
Xexals (transformer) was responsible for the landscape of Stolo as our ancestors were obliged to follow the traditional laws set before them. If these laws were not followed, Xexals exercised his powers to ensure the integrity to Solhtemexw was maintained.
The customs and traditions that define Stolo culture are strongly evident throughout the various villages. The Sxwo:yxwey mask, associated family song and regalia are used in many of these ceremonies. The Sxwo:yxwey is considered the highest honor and only families that trace their ancestry to its origin along maternal lines have the rights to the mask and song.
Many families host feasts in the various longhouses to honor a family member, host weddings, or passing down a traditional name to a family member.
The caretakers of the traditional songs hold the responsibility of keeping the heartbeat of the drum alive. The drum is considered sacred and the younger generation today are required to understand the responsibilities of “owning a drum” and the associated songs.
The Owl, as the messenger of the “spirits” symbolizes the wisdom of our ancestors who have gone before us.
Emerging from the feather of one wing is a salmon, illustrating its importance and value to the Stó:lō people. Held in the wing is a Sxwo:yxwey mask. In the other wing, the owl embraces a carving of a man, representing the Stó:lō people. The spirits embrace and protect our people, our culture and as we grow stronger, they return these teachings to us.