The Miami River flood pump building is now decorated with Sts’ailes artwork and intrepretive signs outlining the Indigenous history of the area. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Qwólts Park now officially open in Harrison

The new park by the flood pump incorporates Sts’ailes heritage into the community

Harrison Hot Springs is now home to a new park, which will showcase some of the area’s Indigenous history.

On Friday (Sept. 6), Harrison officially unveiled Qwólts Park, located at the Miami River flood pump just past the Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

“We hope that this park provides an opportunity for people to connect with one another and with nature, and learn about the history and people of the area,” mayor Leo Facio said during the opening.

The park was the result of a multi-year project, starting before 2016 when Harrison was first working to get its 60-year-old flood pump replaced with a modern, fish-friendly version.

The flood pump was replaced in 2016, and that year received an $81,000 grant for “beautification” in the area. Three years later, the project was finally complete.

RELATED: Beautification coming for flood pump thanks to $80K grant

The new park includes art installations on the flood pump building itself, including Sts’ailes images of salmon, sturgeon and the Sasquatch. The building also five animal statues donated from the previous council, and interpretive signage on the history of Sts’ailes occupation in the area.

Harrison councillor Ray Hooper unveiling the sign for Qwolts Park at the Miami River flood pump Friday. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

The park also includes seating looking over the lake, and a new sign with the name “Qwólts Park,” after the Halq’émeylem word for boiling water or hot water, referring to the hot spring.

“I’m really honoured, and I feel very privileged to see this in my time, where there’s this kind of working relationship,” Sts’ailes band member Chaquawet Willie Charlie said. “Taking our language and our name of places, and recognizing it.”

The name has its connection to not only the hot spring, but also ancient village that was located near it.

“They called the village that was here and the people that lived here, Qwó:ils. It was the place of the medicine water, the place of the healing water,” Charlie said.

“Our elders say that people would travel here for great distances” to bathe in the hot spring’s water, Charlie said. Visitors would also rub the mud around the hot spring onto themselves, and sometimes drink a tiny amount of the water to help cure digestive problems.

After the ceremony, Charlie told that Sts’ailes story of how the hot spring came to be.

“We’re told that real medicine food for us is fish head soup,” Charlie explained. “Here there was some fishermen, that when the fish was really scarce, they caught some fish and were going to make fish head soup. And they weren’t going to share it.”

The fishermen were boiling their soup by the lake when Xa:ls, a transformer who was sent to make things right in the land, came upon them and turned them to stone.

“That boiling water, that medicine water, was from that fish head soup and kept it going,” Charlie said. “There’s lots of deep stories, and today you get a little glimpse of it.”

The park opening was attended by Sts’ailes drummers, as well as MLA Laurie Throness, who helped secure money for the project back in 2016, and members of Harrison council.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Investigators comb through Chilliwack house following standoff

RCMP say investigation involves report of an early morning shooting

MLA Throness celebrates Children and Youth in Care Week

‘Together we can help change the stigma,’ says Opposition Critic for Children and Youth in statement

No need to get out of your car at food truck festival in Abbotsford and Langley

Annual event takes drive-thru approach during COVID-19 pandemic

BREAKING: Homicide investigators probe suspicious death on Highway 1 north of Yale

RCMP found a person with life-threatening injuries early Wednesday, who later died at the scene

VIDEO: Chilliwack teachers give rolling award ceremony to students

Four teams of staff travel the city to hand out awards in person

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

White Rock council considers allowing alcohol in waterfront park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

Langley woman recalls last words spoken to mother who died of COVID-19 on 88th birthday

Verna Clarke was more than a senior with dementia who died of COVID at Langley Lodge, she was ‘loved’

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Most Read