T’xwelátse, ancestor of the Stó:lō-Ts’elxwéyeqw people, was born in the distant past when things were not quite right. He was turned to granite many years ago as punishment for mistreating his wife, who was charged thereafter with his care. For generations, the women of the family looked after their stone ancestor, who carried within him lessons about how to live and act properly.
In 1892, Stone T’xwelátse was taken from his homeland and eventually acquired as an object of study by the Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Seattle. In October 2006, after 114 years of separation from his extended family, Stone T’xwelátse was repatriated and journeyed home again.
According to his namesake, Herb Joe, a former Chief of the Tzeachten First Nation, “he will continue to do the job he set out to do – to teach.” Thanks to Herb Joe and his family, and the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, T’xwelátse will reside
at MOA from March 1 through mid-May, where he will form the basis of a high school program on repatriation, and continue to share his message that “we need to learn to live together in a good way.”