Qayqayt First Nation

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Traditional land of the Qayqayt First Nation
New Westminster photographed in 1865. The native canoe in the foreground is offshore from the site of the village of Qayqayt.

The Qayqayt First Nation (qiqéyt), also known as the New Westminster Indian Band, is a band government located at New Westminster, British Columbia. The New Westminster Indian Band - Qayqayt First Nation is recognized by all levels of government, as well as the Assembly of First Nations where they hold delegate status. The Qayqayt First Nation historically spoke the Downriver Dialect of Halkomelem called hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, a Coast Salish language.[1] The Qayqayt First Nation is one of the smallest First Nations in Canada and the only one registered without a land base.[2]


The people who were permanent residents of what is now considered New Westminster were Musqueam and Kwantlen. Throughout the 1800s Musqueam and Kwantlen are continually documented as being in at qiqéyt and t̕sic̓əl̕əs. A reserve for the “Langley Indians” (Kwantlen First Nation) and Musqueam (Musqueam I.R. #1) was established directly on top of the fishing village of qiqéyt. In 1879, the federal government allocated three reserves as general reserves for “All Coastal Indians.” These reserves were established inclusive of 104 acres (0.42 km2) of the South Westminster Reserve, 22 acres (89,000 m2) on the North Arm of the Fraser River and 27 acres (110,000 m2) on Poplar Island.[2] These carry the Musqueam names of yeləɬkʷə, skʷtexʷqən, and wə́q̓ʷaχən sχʷayəməɬ.

On September 4, 1913 George Roberts “of the New Westminster Band of Indians” met with commissioners of the British Columbia, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs. In his interview Roberts acknowledged Musqueam as chief of the “New Westminster” Indians and many Musqueam continued to use the site seasonally through the 1930s and 40s for fishing.[3] Musqueam continued to live at qiqéyt into the 1930s. In 1959 this reserve was sold to pay for a water systems on Musqueam's I.R. #2. qiqéyt continues to be important to Musqueam and they continue to fish in the waters around this important village site.

In Musqueam issued their Declaration which states Musqueam’s rights and title to their unceded traditional territory and countersigned by the community at the time. qiqéyt is site #32.[4]

Kwantlen First Nation recognizes qiqeyt as a very significant part of their unceded traditional territory. Many Kwantlen families trace their direct lineage from qiqeyt Village in South Westminster (now Lehigh Hanson Concrete Batch Plant).

The Aboriginal Gathering Place at the New Westminster campus of Douglas College was built in partnership with the Qayqayt First Nation. This Gathering Place contains a large mural depicting and celebrating the Band and its people.[5]


First Nation number: 566 [1]
Number of Band Members: 12 [1]

Chief and Councillors[edit]

Chief Rhonda Larrabee[2]

Treaty Process[edit]

Qayqayt are not officially involved in the British Columbia Treaty Process[2]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Qiqayt (Former Indian Village)". BC Geographical Names.
  • "Brownsville (Post Office)". BC Geographical Names.


  1. ^ a b c "New Westminster". Executive Council of British Columbia. 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "Uncovering her roots". Canwest News Service. New Westminster Record. June 6, 2009. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  3. ^ British Columbia, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Evidence Submitted to the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia: New Westminster Agency Transcripts.
  4. ^ "Musqueam Traditional Territory | Musqueam". Archived from the original on 2012-08-14.
  5. ^ "Aboriginal Gathering Place". Douglas College. Retrieved 24 October 2014.

External links[edit]

  • Short film A Tribe of One
  • Marie Lee Bandura, who grew up as part of the Qayqayt First Nation in New Westminster, British Columbia, was orphaned and believed she was the last of her people. She moved to Vancouver's Chinatown, married a Chinese man, and raised her four children as Chinese. One day she told her daughter Rhonda Larrabee about her heritage: "I will tell you once, but you must never ask me again."[1][2]
  1. ^ "A Tribe of One". Government of Canada. National Film Board of Canada. 2009. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  2. ^ Hui, Stephen (May 26, 2003). "Film: The story of the smallest tribe". Vol. 114, no. 4. Burnaby, British Columbia: Simon Fraser University. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2016.