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Time Traveller: Why Squamish Nation calls those iconic peaks The Two Sisters

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada.
Time Traveller, June 9WEB

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada.  

This 1919 photo by Leonard Frank shows the iconic peaks known as The Lions – to the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) they are known as Ch'ich'iyúy Elxwíkn (“Twin Sisters” or “Two Sisters”).   

The legend of The Two Sisters, was told to E. Pauline Johnson (Takehionwake), the famous Mohawk poet, by Squamish Chief Joe Capilano and was included in her book The Legends of Vancouver (1911). It tells of how the iconic peaks came to stand over what has become Vancouver. 

The legend tells of a great chief’s two daughters who brought together warring nations for a celebration and feast, or Potlatch, creating a lasting peace among the Coast Salish people. 

After they passed away, the two sisters were immortalized and lifted up to the mountains where they could forever keep watch over their descendants and ensure the peace was kept.  

The legend contains an important message of reconciliation, sharing and peace. 

Visit the MONOVA website for more information about the history of the North Shore and to learn about MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver opening in 2021.

Currently, MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver at 3203 Institute Rd. in Lynn Valley is open by appointment only. Contact: archives@monova.ca

Navigate culture on the North Shore by using the North Shore Culture Compass.