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Saturday, May 10, 2008

SPIRIT OF THE ELDERS con'td": CHIEF JOE CAPILANO


After Chief Ki-ap-a-la-no and his son died, the Squamish people chose Sahp-luh as their next leader. He married the great niece of Chief Ki-ap-a-la-no. In 1906 he became Chief Joe Capilano.

Chief Joe Capilano was a friendly man who gained a good reputation for helping the early settlers. Fifteen years earlier he was one of the two Indian guides who had led an expedition to discover the source of the Capilano River. He died in 1910, aged sixty. His wife Lay-hu-lette (Mary) lived for many years on the Capilano Reserve. She was a respected elder in the community. A wooden statue of her stands in the garden near the Suspension Bridge. On her back is a woven cedar basket in which she is carrying her baby son who later became Chief Mathias Joe Capilano. When Mary died in December 1940, she was over 100 years old.

Chief Mathias Joe became a renown carver and spirit dancer. In 1906 he visited England and was received at Buckingham Palace by their Majesties King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. At this time he was introduced to the poet Pauline Johnson. They became good friends and when she came to reside on the west coat he told her many of the legends which she later retold in her books and poetry.



In the early 1900’s Chief Mathias Joe began carving totem poles at a spot under the Lions Gate Bridge where he lived until the early ‘50’s. One of his friends and fellow carvers was August Jack Khahtsahlano who was born in 1877 at the Squamish village of Snauq near the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge. August Jack was a respected elder and a great leader. He was a wise man, courteous and trustworthy and had a reputation as a natural historian, storyteller and spirit dancer. He and his elder brother Willie helped build the first suspension bridge across Capilano Canyon. He lived to be almost 91 years old and died in Vancouver, June 1967.

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5 comments:

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

you have made a mistake in identifying Mathias Joe Capilano, Chief Joe and Mary Capilano's son as the person who went to England to speak with the King about the need for a treaty for Coast Salish lands. It was Chief Joe Capilano who went there with another Coast Salish Chief. Joe Capilano did die just four years later; his son, Mathias went on to take on leadership roles in a number of different venues (see Keith Carlson re: the trip to England). mvcrosby

Unknown said...

I am the person who is identified as unknown re: Joe Capilano going to England . Marcia V. Crosby

Wynn Bexton said...

I did a lot of research before writing this so if there is a mistake it was in the sources I used.

Jay said...

This belongs in the previous paragraph since it is attributed to Chief Joe - Not Joe Matthias
In 1906 he visited England and was received at Buckingham Palace by their Majesties King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. At this time he was introduced to the poet Pauline Johnson. They became good friends and when she came to reside on the west coat he told her many of the legends which she later retold in her books and poetry.