All mountain bike trails in Squamish sit on the territory of the Squamish Nation, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw. From Cheshire Cat to Labour of Love we ride on their territory. In many cases, this land is now owned by the Squamish Nation under colonial understandings of “ownership”. With this in mind we are dedicated to building a respectful and reciprocal relationship with all of the Squamish Nation.
Many of the trails we ride on today take us through forests, creeks, mountain tops and valley bottoms that for thousands of years, since time immemorial have been stewarded by the Squamish First Nation. Their ancestors hunted and gathered food and medicines from these lands. They have names for all these plants, animals, mountains and water. The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Snichim (language), culture and entire way of being ties them to this land and exemplifies their connection to this place.
We understand that this connection exists and we recognize the responsibility we have to build a relationship and create a better future not only for the trails but for the community as a whole.
Squamish Nation Youth Mountain Bike Program
In 2020 SORCA partnered with Dialed In Cycling and Matthew Van Oostdam, a coach/teacher at Aya7Ayulh Chet (Cultural Journeys) to support a Squamish Nation driven mountain bike mentorship program. The ultimate goal is to build capacity for the program, ensure that it is rooted in Squamish ways of being and that it be run by and for Squamish Nation and Indigenous people in this territory.
The program continues to evolve as we engage with youth, parents, community members and the Squamish Nation Recreation Department. There is currently a youth team that rides on a weekly basis, regularly scheduled social rides for women and men and much more in the works. This is our way of working in a good way, of showing that we want to build relationships, that we care about the land, the trail network, and the community as a whole.
We would like to acknowledge that many local businesses and people have contributed to make this possible.
- Sunflower Bakery
- Alice and Brohm
- Dialed In Cycling X Flying Spirit Rentals
- Squamish Savings
- CORSA Cycles
- Tantalus Bike Shop
- LandSea Camp Services
** The Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw have occupied and governed their territory since beyond recorded history. This territory reaches around Whistler in the north, Gibsons to the west, throughout the Lower Mainland, North Shore and eastward to the Pitt River. Traditional governance for many indigenous peoples, including the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw, did not include private or individual land ownership: the territory was stewarded as a whole for and by its people. The people belong to the land, rather than the land belonging to people. Many places throughout the territory have Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim (language) names, which reflect the importance of these locations to the people. To learn more about place names, see http://squamishatlas.com/.
During colonization, colonial governments stole land from Indigenous people and sold it off to private owners, or kept it as crown land. The Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw have asserted their inherent rights to their territories since the first settlers arrived, and through decades of work have regained rights and title to some parcels of returned land. Under current colonial conceptions of private “ownership”, the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw own a number of parcels of land around Squamish. Their unassailable right to self determination means that they can determine their own land use priorities, regardless of current and prior settler uses.
Land use priorities for the Nation are outlined in the Xay Temíxw (Sacred Land) Land Use Plan. The plan identifies four types of land use zones:
- forest stewardship zones;
- sensitive areas;
- restoration areas; and
- wild spirit places
To learn more about the Squamish Nation visit their website: https://www.squamish.net/about-us/the-nation-today/