JustineThis is the legend of the transformation of Mount Cheam, as it was taught to me by my elders.

It's said that thousands of years ago in Stalo territory, there was a little girl named Lhilheqey. When Lhilheqey was very young, around six or seven, her parents decided it was time to move. They decided that they were going to move Lhilheqey and her siblings down into the south, into what we now know as the United States.

When they did this, all of the others relatives stayed up in Stalo territory. Lhilheqey grew up in the South and when she was older, she ended up meeting a young man by the name of Kwex'lexw and she fell in love with him and eventually they got married. Years later, Lhilheqey and Kwex'lexw gave birth to a little baby girl by the name of Oyewot. At this time, Lhilheqey decided she wanted to take Oyewot with her and introduce her to all of their relatives in Stalo territory. When she told Kwex'lexw about this, he decided he couldn't go with them because he was needed in the community; he was very important.

So he told Lhilheqey to go with Oyewot and to take their pet dog Sqwema:y for protection. So Oyewot, Lhilheqey, and Sqwema:y started their long journey up to Stalo territory. On their way up, Lhilheqey started hearing these stories about a man named Xa:ls and how he was transforming Stalo people into stone.

She became curious about Xa:ls and wanted to know more about him so every person that she met on her journey, she started to ask about Xa:ls. No one knew much more about him other than that he was transforming people into stone, and these people were Stalo people.

By the time Lhilheqey reached Stalo territory, she was very curious, so she asked one her relatives about him and that relative guided her up to a hill nearby their home village and told her that if she wanted to know more about Xa:ls, she should just ask him himself, because he lived on that hill. So Lhilheqey went with Oyewot and Sqwema:y. to meet Xa:ls. She met him and she asked him why he was transforming Stalo people into stone.

Xa:ls looked at her and he said, "I'm doing it because they need to learn lessons. I want this generation and future generations to learn these lessons." So Lhilheqey thought on this for a while. She looked at Xa:ls and she asked him to transform her into stone. When he heard this, he was very confused. No one had ever before asked to be transformed, so he asked her why she wanted this.

Lhilheqey looked at him in the eye and she said, "I want to be transformed because I have great pride in my people. I want to protect them. I want to be seen from the Fraser River, so the salmon come up every year, and they'll feed my people for all time." When Xa:ls. heard this, he thought it was a very noble thing for her to do. So he granted her request, and he started to transform her.

When Oyewot saw her mother being transformed into stone, she ran in to giver her one last hug. But as soon as she touched Lhilheqey, Oyewot started to transform into stone as well, and she started to cry. That's where it's said we get Bridal Falls from. Bridal Falls is believed to be Oyewot's tears coming down to this day, because she's sad she doesn't want to be stone.

After they had transformed, their pet dog Sqwema:y was sniffing around. He was very protective over the both of them, and he couldn't figure out what had happened. When his nose touched where Lhilheqey's back used to be, it's said he transformed as well. And that's how we get Dogface Mountain. It's the profile of Sqwema:y the dog's head.

That's the legend of Mount Cheam.

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