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WATCH: Conversations with Khahtsahlano: As We Knew Him

By January 26, 2023Uncategorized

On Thursday, January 26 at 7pm, join Massy Arts Society, Massy Books and Vancouver Public Library for Conversations with Khahtsahlano: As We Knew Him.

One of the most significant books on local history that’s been out of print for more than 60 years, Conversations with Khahtsahlano 1932-1954, contains twenty-two years of conversations between Sḵwx̱uwú7mesh Chief X̱ats’alanexw, a.k.a. Chief August Jack Khahtsahlano, and Major J.S. Matthews. First published in 1955, it tells the stories of people who lived in the area, that is now called “Vancouver.”

The Book

Originally published in 1955 by the Vancouver City Archives, Conversations with Khahtsahlano received a limited publication and is reproduced here in facsimile.

Chief X̱ats’alanexw’s reminiscences travel as far back as 1881. He recounts neighbourhood tales, the Traditional Stories he grew up with, local genealogies, cultural histories, and detailed accounts of practices for everything from fishing sturgeon to building houses. Knowledgeable and forthcoming, Chief X̱ats’alanexw’s recollections weave a meticulous tapestry.

After centuries of violent erasure of Indigenous world views, here is a rare first-hand account detailing traditional life of the Coast Salish peoples, an insightful record rich with art, diagrams, maps, letters, and photographs. Chief X̱ats’alanexw’s observations give shape to the social and physical changes of the region, and offer an illuminating glimpse into so-called Vancouver in its infancy. Conversations with Khahtsahlano is an essential text that brings history indelibly to life.

This facsimile reprint is a co-production by Talonbooks and Massy Books.


With Speakers

Syex̱wáliya Ann Whonnock is a Knowledge Carrier & Elder Advisor from Squamish Nation with strong Indigenous worldviews, ancestral knowledge and traditional teachings. Syexwaliya is the Granddaughter of Dominic Charlie who was the younger Brother Khahtsahlano August Jack.

Linda Daniels resides on Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) North Shore and is an active community member and elder at 70 years old. At heart, she is a passionate advocate for her family and Nation, an avid book collector and recognizes that book collecting has been a component of healing for her. Linda began her journey of trying to republish Khahtsahlano’s book during a difficult time which this became the centre of her focus, reaching out to Massy Books and proposing the reprint of this historical book. Since this onboarding, Linda feels complete and happy with being a part of cultivating availability for her family and Nation to learn their historical roots. In her own wise words: “Being the great-granddaughter of August Jack has made this journey more special and has allowed me to learn some of the familial history that I did not know.”

Patricia Massy is of Cree, Métis, and English descent and a member of the As’in’î’wa’chî Ni’yaw Nation. She is a mother, changemaker, founder and non-profit director of Massy Arts Society, cofounder of the Indigenous Brilliance Reading Series, and owner of Massy Books – a new and used, Indigenous owned bookstore on the traditional, ancestral, unceded, and occupied territory of the xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and selílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, also known as Vancouver, BC.

Ian Campbell, from the lineage of Xatslanexw, carries the Squamish ancestral name Xalek and the Chieftain name Sekyu Siyam from the village of K’ik’elxn (Port Mellon). He is one of 16 Hereditary Chiefs of the Squamish Nation with a strong history of protecting and enhancing the Aboriginal Rights and Title of the Squamish Nation, Land Use Planning, Natural Resource Management, Renewable Energy, Forestry, Wildlife Management, Co Management of Provincial Parks and Conservancies.

Vanessa Campbell’s ancestral name is Iyáľ. She has worked with the Squamish language since 1972—from early childcare like daycare and kindergarten to post-secondary learners. Learned through her Elders, Vanessa is privileged to share their words and teachings.

Moderated by Colin Browne. Colin is the author most recently of Here (2020), a collection of poetry, and Entering Time (2016), a study of three argillite platters by Haida artist Da.a xiigang that depict a crucial incident at the beginning of time. Colin’s recent collaborations with composer Alfredo Santa Ana include Music for a Night in May (2018), The River of Hellos and Goodbyes (2021), and, forthcoming, Aves: The Four-Chambered Heart (2023). In 2016, he was the guest curator for the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition “I Had an Interesting French Artist to See Me This Summer”: Emily Carr and Wolfgang Paalen in British Columbia. He is on the editorial board of The Capilano Review and is currently completing a book about the Surrealist engagement with the Northwest Coast in the late 1930s and 1940s.