Chief Whattlekainum of the Kwantlen Nation

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Records for Chief Whattlekainum of the Kwantlen Nation

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Chief Whattlekainum of the Kwantlen Nation

Birthplace: New Westminster, BC, Canada
Immediate Family:

Father of Unknown Daughter of Talphe

Managed by: Donald Frazer Lawton Solomon
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Chief Whattlekainum of the Kwantlen Nation

1808 Whattlekainum, the Kwantlen sub-chief, discovered the plan of the young warriors to kill the whites, and forbade them to give chase. He warned them that if they killed Fraser and his men, more whites would return and massacre the Kwantlen people. The chief's intervention undoubtedly saved Fraser and his party.


1824 Chief Whattlekainum had observed the great winged canoe on the river and spread the word among the Kwantlen that no hostile acts were to be committed against the sky people. Early next morning, Whattlekainum and some Kwantlen braves set out in a canoe laden with beaver skins and cautiously approached the Cadboro.

The Kwantlen were warmly welcomed by McMillan, who noted in his diary:

Whattlekainum, a Quoitle Chief, was on board this morning, and was kindly received. He traded a few Beaver skins for knives.

The Fraser Valley: A History - John A. Cherrington

By fall the rudimentary beginnings of Fort Langley were established at the site of Derby. By 1828, so many Indians established encampments near the fort, and settled on Kanaka Creek directly opposite the fort, that the main Kwantlen tribe eventually became known as the Langley Band. Whattlekainum had led this re settlement from the Skaiametl and Kikait areas. He decided that the sky people could offer protection to his people from the constant Yuculta depredations.

James McMillan wrote:

This warfare keeps the Indians of this vicinity in such continual alarm that they cannot turn their attention to anything but the care of their family and that they do but poorly; while the powerful tribes from Vancouver Island harass them in this manner, little hunts can be expected from them and unless the Company supports them against those lawless villains, little exertions can be expected from them.

The Fraser Valley: A History - John A. Cherrington

The Kwantlen were very important to the Hudson Bay Company, along with the other Salo people, as they provided furs but more importantly; salmon, sturgeon, berries, wappatoes (a potato-like root) and labour for the many activities demanded at the Fort. The Company saw them as vital to their prosperity and worthy of protection. In turn the Kwantlen grew dependent on the commercial activities at the Fort.

James McMillan wrote:

One early evening in 1837, the Fort Langley canon boomed in anger. Over a thousand Yucultas streamed up the Fraser to attack Stalo villages. This time, however, instead of proceeding far up the river to prey upon the Chilliwack settlements, the fleet turned suddenly southward toward Whattlekainum's peaceful Kwantlen village near the Fort. The attack came just before dusk. The sentries yelled. The canon loaded. The swivel guns on the walls armed, and muskets readied. Kwantlen villagers fled for safety into the forest. When the war canoes came into range, the gunners were signaled to fire. Canoes were blown apart; warriors spilled into the water and swam frantically out into the river channel, where many drowned. The Kwantlen, who had fled, now emerged from the woods and with knives and clubs massacred dozens of Yucultas. The remnants of the huge war party escaped down river. Never again would the Yucultas be an important factor in the life of the Fraser Valley.

The Fraser Valley: A History - John A. Cherrington


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Chief Whattlekainum of the Kwantlen Nation's Timeline