Semá:th Xó:tsa: Great Gramma’s Lake 

A Lake’s Legacy. Echoes of Indigenous History and Stories.  

For milennia, Semá:th Xó:tsa (Sumas Lake) flourished between the Sumas and Vedder mountains in the unceded territory of the Stó:lō people, in what is now known as the Fraser Valley. It was a vital ecological hub for the Séma:th people (Sumas First Nation) and surrounding indigenous communities, contributing to their cultural, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. Between 1919 and 1924, settlers lobbied the government to drain the lake to increase agricultural land, disregarding the devastating impact on the Stó:lō people.  

From June 29th to September 2nd, witness the beauty of Semá:th Xó:tsa through illustrations of the children’s book published by The Reach Gallery Museum. The collaborative book and exhibition recall a time when the lake was thriving, using memory and story to allow the lake to live on today. The project is illustrated by Xémontélót Carrielynn Victor and co-authored by Thetáx Chris Silver, Xémontélót Carrielynn Victor, Kris Foulds, and Laura Schneider.

This exhibit was developed by The Reach Gallery Museum

Due to the forecasted heatwave, we’ve decided to reschedule our upcoming outdoor puppet performance on July 7th as a precaution for the safety and comfort of our guests and performers. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the show, so we’re moving the date to August 18th. Join us for a performance featuring large-scale puppets based on animals that would have lived in and around Semá:th Xo:tsa. Watch the animals move throughout the FRDC and surrounding area. Performances start on the hour between 11am and 2:30pm.
Installation view of Semá:th Xó:tsa: Sts'ólemeqwelh Sx̱ó:tsa/Great Gramma’s Lake, 2020, The Reach Gallery Museum. Photo credit: Rachel Topham Photography
Installation view of Semá:th Xó:tsa: Sts'ólemeqwelh Sx̱ó:tsa/Great Gramma’s Lake, 2020, The Reach Gallery Museum. Photo credit: Rachel Topham Photography
Installation view of Semá:th Xó:tsa: Sts'ólemeqwelh Sx̱ó:tsa/Great Gramma’s Lake (detail), 2020, The Reach Gallery Museum. Puppet design by Tamara Unroe, Randi Edmundson, and Jaqui Rolston. Photo credit: Rachel Topham Photography