Welcome to Sts’ailes Territory

Our Story

Xwelam te letsemot Sts’ailes

One heart, one mind, we are Sts’ailes

Our Story

We, the Sts’ailes, are a sovereign Coast Salish Indigenous community living in connection with the inland temperate rainforest and a multitude of precious watersheds since time immemorial. “Xaxa Temexw”, literally translates to “sacred earth” and expresses the Sts’ailes’ spiritual, physical, and cultural connection to the land, its water, and its resources. We have stewarded the diversity of these territories with the deep understanding that human beings (Xwelmexw) are only one small part of Xaxa Temexw and have the responsibility to take care of it because all living things are interrelated and when one is affected, it affects the health and well-being of all.

The name Sts’ailes is derived from the Halq’emeylem word “Sts’ailes” which means “the beating heart”.

Sts’ailes is an independent nation with a traditional territory that includes the watersheds of Harrison Lake, the Harrison River, Chehalis Lake, and the Chehalis River. The territory extends west to include the northeast end of Stave Lake and extends south to include a part of the Fraser River (approximately a kilometer upriver and downriver of the mouth of the Harrison River). Sts’ailes traditional territory covers a geographical area of 3,500 square kilometers and measures approximately 70 kilometers long by 50 kilometers wide.

Today, as in the past, our culture and economy is centered on the land and its resources. Just as our ancestors knew the significance, use, and value of all resources and lands, we must also uphold these values. This is essential not only to fully participate in the broader economy, but also to protect those resources and lands that are integral to Sts’ailes identity, success, and permanence.

In 2009, Sts’ailes purchased Sasquatch Crossing Eco Lodge (formerly Fenn Lodge).

Originally built as Fenn Lodge in 1903, the existing house was constructed of local lumber and granite, milled, and quarried on site. The water-driven mill’s supply pipeline was converted in the 1960’s to operate the hydro electric generator which powers the house today

Numerous other residences, farm buildings and the Pretty Timber Company machine shop and storage facilities existed on the property over the years but only a few stone walls, overgrown foundations and hidden skeletal equipment remains today

In 1995, Ella Pretty sold the house and remaining 87 acres to a couple from Vancouver who restored, renovated, and operated the residence as a B&B until the property was purchased by Sts’ailes.

Story of the Sasquatch

The Sasquatch has a long and rich history in the Sts’ailes Traditional Territory, for both residents and visitors. The heart of the traditional territory is the bountiful Harrison and Chehalis Lakes region. For Sts’ailes the Sasquatch is an important aspect of cultural identity and spiritual beliefs. The very word Sasquatch is an anglicised pronunciation of Sa:sq’ets, a Sts’ailes word, which tells a story of how Sasquatch is the primary caretaker who watches over the land. The Sasquatch is so integral to the Sts’ailes that their adopted logo is a stylized image of the Sasquatch, as is the Sts’ailes national flag. Their experience with the Sasquatch goes back many thousands of years and the oral stories of this history have been passed down from generation to generation as Xwelmexw – People of the Land.

"We were always told we were not to be scared of him, and that he wasn’t a monster. Red ochre is used for all our paintings at Sa:sq’etstel (Sasquatch Mountain). The paintings are 3,000 – 7,000 years old, and our people back then they were already depicting Sa:sq’ets. It is used to show the connection that we have to everything that comes from here. We have the Eagle, they come here annually by the thousands, and they come here because they are connected to the Salmon People, who come here by the millions, and you can see it is all connected. The word Slalikum in our language means supernatural, it is like a shape shifter...so if they want to be seen they are going to be seen. On moonlit nights, the way our elders told us, that is when you are not thinking when you are not distracted, you are focused on what is in front of you, so in that time if the light hits it right, you can see that, you might be able to see that. That is what I was told. If you are at the right place at the right time you will see him roaming throughout the land.”

- Kelsey Charlie, Sts’ailes Sasquatch Dancers