Coqualeetza Cultural Education Centre is in dire need of a home.  The unfortunate efforts of the nation to accommodate us have failed numerous times. We are left out to hang, off of the Coqualeetza site, with all our ancestors implements and data, with no resolution in site.  On the horizon we hope to purchase an affordable portable and move back on site where we belong.

The story of Coqualeetza as passed down through oral histories and stories, a significant tradition of the Sto:lo.

Thousands of years ago Kw'eqwalith'a was the name we gave to this place on the Luckakuck River.  Kw'eqwalith'a means "cleansing place".  Before the immigrants came to our area our ancestors would come to this spot to wash their blankets, and to talk to one another about what was happening in those days.  They learned from each other.  Today, we call this place Coqualeetza.  It is still a Sto:lo place.  We still come here from around the Valley to meet with each other.

The cultural centre has played and continues to play a significant role in the lives of the Sto:lo people and the general community.  The elders play a key role in Sto:lo communities and in self-government initiatives.  The cultural centre has operated for 33 years and will continue to have a significant role within the Sto:lo communities.  Life long friendships were formed, marriages tranpired, skills and education learned, jobs created, and history and culture tauight and identities as Sto:lo people fashioned.  Many, many people became part of the rich and valuable history of Coqualeetza and being part of the accomplishments achieved over the years has given a sense of pride, honour and respect within each individual.  It is particularly important to recognize the Elders of yesterday and today for the commitment and dedication to the Board and staff of the centre because they are the reason we exist today and will continue to exist for time immemorial.

History of the Coqualeetza Property

April 16, 1869      Crown Asset, 150 acres,  issued to Ann McColl
                            1869-1892 parts of property sold to Mr. A.C. Wells and Mr. Horatio Webb
                            1882, Methodist Church acquired 33.9 acres

1884                    Charles Tate, Methodist missionary established the Coqualeetza Home for
                            native students, land was given to him by a Skowkale Chief; 40 students                                                             attended

1891                     December 3rd, home was destroyed by fire. Tate's received $4,000.00
                             from the insurance; they reconstructed with contribution received from
                             Missionary Society, Dominion government, General Board, Women's                                                                  Missionary. 

1893                     April 26, Thomas Hooper completed the plans for new school and 1894
                             INAC contributes $2500.00

                            The Coqualeetza Industrial Institute was established, 120 students attended
                            staff of eight teachaers; second largest Indian residential school in Canada;
                            Methodist Church held 87 acres

1910                     Methodist Church fell into economic hardship; forced to sell portions of the
                            land to private and government sector, maintained indian school

1923                     The school burned down; federal government committed to rebuild in
                            exchange for land

1924                     A new school was built

1939/41               School was phased out; 1941 converted to Coqualeetza Hospital, first
                            indian tuberculosis centre

1948                     North wing destroyed by fire; reconstruction of hospital completed in 1951

1968                     Hospital closed

1969                     Skowkale First Nation occupied the building
                             The Sto:lo have been negotiating with Treasury Board for the property to be
                             transferred back to the Sto:Lo and given reserve status.  At the time of this
                             writing, the official transfer has not occurred.