Yúusnew̓as 

Yúusnew̓as 

Taking care of spirit, taking care of one another, taking care of everything around us. Another form of the word yúustway.

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is the lead community for the archival and land-based research into the former St. Paul’s Residential School. The site is located on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh territory and we are working closely with səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Other communities also attended this school while it was open from 1899 until it was shut down in 1959.

The word yúusnew̓as was proposed by the Elders Advisory Committee for the project name as a recognition that we must take care of survivors as well as all who have been impacted by intergenerational harms. This seven generation approach was the guiding principle for the Growth and Unity project logo, designed by Nation artist Calvin Charlie-Dawson.

I'm hoping this image will promote our unity and teamwork in our community towards a common good – whether it be upholding our Elders and the journey they have lived, or our new ones for a journey to come. The four heads represent us as a people, the encircling figure represents those looking over us (our ancestors), and the small floral figure in the middle is being guided and protected as we would our children and children's children.

Calvin Charlie-Dawson

Those working on the project can be reached by email: yuusnewas@squamish.net.

The Yúusnew̓as Project has been set up to ensure work is done in a good way with our culture and protocols as the foundation. Knowledge keepers and those with traditional knowledge lead the project and – before delivery of activities, events, or ceremony – check the work. The Steering Committee guides the project in a good way while the Project Team actively works across multiple areas including health and wellness support, recording stories, archive and land-based research, and cultural practices.

Click here to view the governance diagram.

Wellness & Healing Supports

wa chexw yuusténam̓ut. Take care of yourself.

Ayás Mén̓men (Child & Family Services) and Yúustway (Health & Wellness) are available to offer wellness & healing supports for Members, including traditional land-based practices. More information is available in our Wellness Guide, which was distributed to all on-reserve households in mid-July. If you did not receive a copy or if you live off-reserve, please email yuusnewas@squamish.net

Hannah Rushton – Team Leader, Wellness Services, Ayás Mén̓men
Phone: 778-233-4869 or 604-985-4111

Mackenzie Gomez – Community Health & Wellness, Yúustway
Phone: 604-360-3911 or 604-982-0332

Project Communications

September 7, 2022

Ta newyáp Squamish Nation Members, 

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is committed to keeping Members informed of the ongoing archives and land-based research into St. Paul’s Residential School. Phase One, Staging, is now complete. In this first phase the Project Team planned how to care for our Elders, survivors, and community. This included setting up health and wellness supports, a process for recording truths, researching history through the archives, and preparing for land-based surveys. The Project Team continues to engage our neighbouring communities and other Nations working on their respective IRS projects.

The Yúusnew̓as Project is now entering Phase Two, Truth, where we will listen to the oral histories of our survivors. This process is not for everyone, however the Project Team has worked hard to create a safe and comforting environment for any of our survivors who feel willing to share.

Kwitelut, Carla George and Adina Williams are ready to support those who wish to create their legacy of truth. These truths will assist the Project Team in their research and preparing for land-based surveys. The oral histories will also help shape our understanding of the IRS experience as we heal and move forward together. Please reach out to yuusnewas@squamish.net if you would like to know more or are ready to gift your truth.

wa chexw yuusténam̓ut. Take care of yourself.

We want all Members to feel cared for in whatever way they need. Ayás Mén̓men (Child & Family Services) and Yúustway (Health & Wellness) offer a variety of wellness and healing supports, including traditional land-based practices. You can find more information in the Yúusnew̓as Wellness Guide.

Hannah Rushton – Team Leader, Wellness Services, Ayás Mén̓men
Phone: 778-233-4869 or 604-985-4111

Mackenzie Gomez – Community Health & Wellness, Yúustway
Phone: 604-360-3911 or 604-982-0332

Chet wanáxwstúmi (respectfully),

Council Spokespersons
Syexwáliya, Ann Whonnock​ and Sxwíxwtn, Wilson Williams​

July 27, 2022

Ta newyáp Squamish Nation Members, 

This week Pope Francis is visiting First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities across the country to listen once again and address the participation of the Catholic Church in the operation of residential schools throughout Canada.

On July 25 at Maskwacis, Alberta, the Pope acknowledged the many harms caused to generations of Indigenous People. He apologized and asked forgiveness for the ways in which members of the Church participated in cultural destruction and forced assimilation. If you would like to read the full text of the apology, it is available here.

The Papal visit and apology on our territories is another important step forward on our path towards lasting reconciliation, as was the sorrow and shame he expressed to delegates in April at the Vatican. Chairperson Khelsilem and Councillor and residential school survivor Sempúlyan represented the Nation in Rome with a secondary group of delegates alongside the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). Sempúlyan presented a blanket to Pope Francis.

wa chexw yuusténam̓ut. Take care of yourself.

We understand that this week is difficult for some of our Members. Ayás Mén̓men (Child & Family Services) and Yúustway (Health & Wellness) offer a variety of wellness and healing supports, including traditional land-based practices. You can find more information in the Yúusnew̓as Wellness Guide.

Hannah Rushton – Team Leader, Wellness Services, Ayás Mén̓men
Phone: 778-233-4869 or 604-985-4111

Mackenzie Gomez – Community Health & Wellness, Yúustway
Phone: 604-360-3911 or 604-982-0332

If you have any questions, information, or concerns, you can reach those working on the Yúusnew̓as Project by email at yuusnewas@squamish.net.

Chet wanáxwstúmi (respectfully),

Council Spokespersons
Syexwáliya, Ann Whonnock​ and Sxwíxwtn, Wilson Williams​

July 11, 2022

Ta newyáp Squamish Nation Members, 

This week Ta na wa Yúus ta Stitúyntsam̓ (Rights & Title) will oversee a LiDAR scan of the Squamish Nation Cemetery. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) involves flying a drone to scan the surface of the cemetery. A 3D image will be created from the scans so that the team can learn more about what the area looks like. This data will provide an increased understanding of our cemetery surface and allow for this information to be shared with the Yúusnew̓as Project.

The process will only take approximately five minutes per survey. We are conducting two surveys and the ground will not be touched. This work is happening now to support preparations for future land-based surveys. More information will be provided to Members before that work begins.

We want all Members to feel cared for in whatever way they need. Ayás Mén̓men (Child & Family Services) and Yúustway (Health & Wellness) offer a variety of wellness and healing supports, including traditional land-based practices.

wa chexw yuusténam̓ut. Take care of yourself.

Hannah Rushton – Team Leader, Wellness Services, Ayás Mén̓men
Phone: 778-233-4869 or 604-985-4111

Mackenzie Gomez – Community Health & Wellness, Yúustway
Phone: 604-360-3911 or 604-982-0332

If you have any questions, information, or concerns, you can reach those working on the Yúusnew̓as Project by email at yuusnewas@squamish.net.

Chet wanáxwstúmi (respectfully),

Council Spokespersons
Syexwáliya, Ann Whonnock​ and Sxwíxwtn, Wilson Williams​

May 26, 2022

Ta newyáp Squamish Nation Members, 

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is committed to keeping Members informed of the ongoing archives and land-based research into St. Paul’s Residential School. Yúusnew̓as is the project name for this work which includes all aspects of caring for our community, survivors, and families. We are here to walk alongside you and support you.

Information about the project is available on the website. If you have any questions, information, or concerns, you can reach those working on the project by email: yuusnewas@squamish.net.

Why is the project called Yúusnew̓as?

Yúusnew̓as means to take care of spirit, to take care of one another, to take care of everything around us.

Ta na wa Ns7éyx̱nitm ta Snew̓íyelh (Language & Cultural Affairs) reached out the Elders Advisory Committee for guidance on a word or phrase that represents the outcome of this important work and to act as a value for decision making. The word that was selected by the Steering Committee, as presented by the Elders, is yúusnew̓as.

It is a word that recognizes the need to take care of not just the survivors, but all who have been impacted by intergenerational harms.

How is the project being governed?

The project has been set up to ensure work is done in a good way with culture and our protocols as the foundation. On January 27, 2022, Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw (Council) approved a governance structure which places cultural protocol, knowledge keepers, and survivors at the heart of decision making.

Knowledge keepers and those with traditional knowledge lead the project and – before delivery of activities, events, or ceremony – check the work. The Steering Committee guides the project in a good way while the Project Team actively works across multiple areas including health and wellness support, recording stories, archive and land-based research, and cultural practices.

A full governance diagram is available to view online.

Has the Nation received any funding to support this work?

Both the federal and provincial governments approved the Nation’s requests for funding. Other grants have been approved for memorialization activities and traditional wellness supports. Donations have also been received from local businesses. The funds will be used to support our staff, activities and events like ceremonies (including knowledge keeper honorariums), and professional costs. More funding proposals to different agencies will be submitted over the next few months.

What was shared on May 15?

On May 15, traditional work and a community feast was held. The traditional work was an important step as we seek to understand and share the truth, care for one another, and honour our ancestors. The witness to the burning ceremony shared that our ancestors know we are doing this work in a good way. They also acknowledged that every person will be on their own wellness journey as our Nation undertakes this work.

After the feast, the Project Sponsor, Peter Baker, explained the work that has been done since the project began, including creating health and wellness supports for survivors and their families, and establishing protocols with other Nations whose Members attended St. Paul’s.

The next stage of the project will involve recording the stories of survivors. This work will be done in a careful and safe way that respects individual survivors’ needs. Kwitelut, Carla George will lead this work in her role as Survivor Liaison.

The final stage of the project will involve pulling all information together to present the truth. More details will be shared when the Nation is ready to proceed with that step.

Wellness and healing support

We understand that this is a difficult time for many of our Members. Ayás Mén̓men (Child & Family Services) and Yúustway (Health & Wellness) are here to offer wellness & healing supports. 

Hannah Rushton – Team Leader, Wellness Services, Ayás Mén̓men
Phone: 778-233-4869 or 604-985-4111

Mackenzie Gomez – Community Health & Wellness, Yúustway
Phone: 604-360-3911 or 604-982-0332

Chet wanáxwstúmi (respectfully),

Council Spokespersons
Syexwáliya, Ann Whonnock​ and Sxwíxwtn, Wilson Williams​