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A new, safer cemetery for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation members is in the early planning stages thanks to $687,000 in new funding received from the First Nation Land Management Resources Centre and the First Peoples Cultural Council.  

kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation received $300,000 from the First Nation Land Management Resources Centre and $387,000 from the First Peoples' Cultural Council towards improving our Historical Cemetery. The cemetery, currently located at setɬamékmən (Coquitlam I.R. 2), is a sacred resting place, not only for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm members but also extended family and relatives from other First Nation communities. The first recorded historic burial in the cemetery goes back as early as 1881.  


“Flooding of our existing historial cemetery has been a serious issue for several decades now due to rising levels of water from the Coquitlam Lake Watershed, diking and other developments in the area,” states George Chaffee, Councillor for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation who is leading this project for the Nation. 

“The funding from the First Peoples' Cultural Council and the First Nation Land Management Resources Centre is crucial to our long-term vision to create a Historic Cemetary that protects, honours and remembers all those who are buried there, including our Elders and Ancestors as well as extended family and relatives from other First Nations,” he added.  

Under the direction of kʷikʷəƛ̓əm leadership (Chief and Council), Elders and community members, the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Historical Cemetery Project will address these key areas:

  • Determine the exact reason(s) for the current flooding in the historic cemetary.
  • Restore any existing gravesites and markers that are under water.
  • Protect and improve areas of the site to avoid future flooding.
  • Determine who is buried at our Historical Cemetary.
  • Enhance the existing site by building a new entrance gate, seating, grave markers, high-quality landscaping and a memorial monument to properly acknowledge those who are buried there.

One of the first activities that will take place is the identification of existing grave sites in, and near, the cemetary. Using ground-penetrating radar, this sensitive work will be guided by the Nation's Archaeologist, Nicole Oakes from Brown & Oakes Archaeology, to ensure there is no disturbance to any of the existing gravesites. Many of the grave markers have been moved, stolen and/or damaged leading many of the grave sites located in, and near, the Cemetery to be unmarked.  

kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation secured a grant of $300,000 from the First Nation Land Management Resources Centre and a grant of $387,000 from the First Peoples' Cultural Council towards this Historical Cemetery. The project will take place from April 1, 2022, with an expected completion date of November 30, 2023.  

Protecting and caring for kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Historical Cemetery is an important part of strengthening our community and honouring our ancestors and loved ones.  Community feedback is very important to honouring relatives and family members who have passed and to helping the Nation develop a shared community vision for the Historic Cemetery.  Towards this goal, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm leadership and staff can arrange meetings with members who wish to share information about Cemetery history and use.

If you would like to provide input into the planning of the new Historical Cemetery, please contact:
Iona Ferguson
Email: iona.ferguson@kwikwetlem.com.

If you would like to share information about the Cemetery history or use, please contact:
Nicole Oakes 
Email: nicole@brownoakesarch.com.