Xá:ytem

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X̲á:ytem
Location Hatzic, British Columbia, Canada
Type National Historic Site of Canada
Website www.xaytem.museum.bc.ca/
X̲á:ytem
National Historic Site of Canada
Province British Columbia
Municipality Hatzic, Mission
Current use museum
Designated as a NHSC 1992/06/04

Xá:ytem /ˈhtəm/ or /ˈhɑː.ɪtəm/ is an indigenous archaeological site and the name of a related museum run under the auspices of the Sto:lo people at Hatzic, British Columbia, Canada. Xá:ytem is approximately 80 kilometres east of Vancouver on Highway 7. It is reached via the bridge at Mission, about 15 kilometres from the border with the US state of Washington. When its ancient age was learned in the late 20th century, the site was designated in 1992 as a national historic site of Canada. It is also known as Hatzic Rock.

History[edit]

Indigenous peoples occupied this area along the northern bank of the Fraser River for thousands of years. The historic peoples who encountered European colonists were the Sto:lo.

A large moss-covered boulder, known as a transformer rock and of deep spiritual importance, has survived from ancient times. According to tradition, the transformer god Xa:Is was traveling through the land and encountered a man who was mistreating his wife. To teach him a lesson, the god transformed him into stone.[1]

Over time, during the years after alienation of native lands by colonization, the site of Xá:ytem had been used as a pasture. The property is adjacent to a highway built in the early 20th century. After it was sold to a developer and initial work on grading the site was begun, concerns about the site's potential archaeological value prompted an examination by Gordon Mohs. This led to the dramatic finding that it was immensely ancient, and it has been ranked among the oldest-known habitation sites in North America.

Following the discovery, the government arranged to transfer the land to the Sto:lo, the First Nation that has historically been in the area, for archaeological and museum purposes. It paid the erstwhile owner compensation for his "lost opportunity" in development; an extensive residential subdivision had been planned. The Sto:lo have built a museum, the X̲á:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre, to educate visitors about the site.

Excavations have been carried out in consultation with the Sto:lo. Researchers have found at the habitation site "evidence of rectangular pit/ longhouses of long-term occupation with remains of post, hearth and floor features, trade goods, storage, food, and spiritual activity."[2]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sandra Shields, "T'xwelatse Comes Home", Seattle Times, 28 January 2007, accessed 16 September 2013
  2. ^ X̲á:ytem / Hatzic Rock National Historic Site of Canada, accessed 16 September 2013

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°09′05″N 122°15′06″W / 49.15139°N 122.25167°W / 49.15139; -122.25167