Our People, Our Places


SQUAMISH COMMUNITY: OUR PEOPLE, OUR PLACES” online program features 12 archival photographs selected from the exhibit presented at the MONOVA (formerly NVMA) in 2010.

Lesson Overview:

Through photo analysis worksheets and activities, students will be introduced to the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation).

Applied Historical Thinking Concepts:

  • Use primary source evidence
  • Identify continuity and change

Throughout this online program you will read terms that are of the Indigenous language. For example, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is the Indigenous translation for Squamish Nation.

Grade Levels: 3-5

Learning Outcomes:

  • To recognize that the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) are very active communities today on the North Shore.
  • To discover aspects of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw history and culture through photographs.
  • To view primary source evidence and develop photo analysis skills.

Essential Questions

  • Who are the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) people today?
  • What do you already know about the history of Indigenous people in British Columbia and on the North Shore?
  • How can archival photographs teach us about Indigenous history?

Activity 1: Brainstorm and Introduction

Ask students the following questions and have them write down responses on the Brainstorm Worksheet .

  • “What do we know about Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) people?”
  • “Where did we learn these things?”

Provide students with an introduction to the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation):

  • The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is part of the Coast Salish First Nations region. They occupied villages around Burrard Inlet, Howe Sound and the Squamish River watershed since time immemorial (forever).
  • 16 Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Snichim (Squamish Language) speaking groups banded together to form the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw in 1923. The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is still a very active community. Their website states there are a total of 3600 official members, over 60% of whom live on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Reserves. One of the main goals of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw today is to protect the environment and future of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh culture.
  • The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Snichim language is the ancestral language of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people. Although endangered, the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language is still a vital part of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Culture.

Activity 2: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh People in the News

Explain to students:

  • When learning about a group of people, or something new in general, it is important to look for evidence to ensure that what you are learning is true.
  • Looking in a current newspaper gives us a view of what is happening in our world today. Looking at archival materials/photographs gives us a view of what has happened in the past.
  • The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) are very active on the North Shore. A variety of newspaper sources will help students learn about these communities and what they are doing today. More recent articles may be sourced online.


  • Option 1: ** Success of this activity may depend on classroom reading levels**
    Students can work individually or in pairs or groups. Assign each student or group 1 article from list on left.

    Have students read their news story and summarize and describe what it revealed about the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation).

    For instance:
    ‘What does the news story tell us about Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw’s values, traditions, or art?’

  • Option 2:
    Alternatively, read the articles to the students and have a follow-up discussion

Activity Set-up:

View the Student’s Photo Activity page for 12 archival photos.

Students can work individually or in pairs or groups. Assign each student or group 2-3 photographs.

Ask students to analyze the different pictures using their Analyzing Photographs Worksheet. They will need one copy of the worksheet for each image they are analyzing.

We hope this Online Program has been useful to your classroom studies. Your comments regarding this program are most welcome; please forward to programs@monova.ca.

Activity 3: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh People through Photographs

Explain to students that they are going to learn about the history of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw by looking at archival photographs from the North Vancouver Museum & Archives.

Send kids to Kids’ Quick Look for a short self-guided activity.


Complete Teacher Lead Activity

With the class, using the Analyzing Photographs Worksheet and Image 1:

  • Begin with the ‘Who’ section and have students tell you about about who they see in the photograph. Make sure students only comment on what they see. Use the ‘Guiding Questions’ to help.
  • Use the students’ responses to fill in the ‘Observations’ column.
  • Based on the observations, decide what inferences can be made about who is in the photograph. Record students’ responses in the ‘Possible Inferences’ column.
  • Move on to ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘When’, ‘Why’.
  • Send kids to Dive Deeper for an in-depth self-guided activity. (If students have done Activity 1 above they can skip Step 1 in Dive Deeper.)

Completed Analyzing Photographs Worksheet

Wrap Up

  • Listen to some of the student observations and inferences and read the background information provided with the image.
  • As a class, determine what each photo reveals about the history of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) people and their culture (art, family, technology, beliefs, education, land, politics/governance, trade/economy). Have students add class observations to their Sḵwx̱wú7mesh People Worksheet.

Completed Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) People Worksheet