About Our Nation
Our Nation Today
Nestled along the stunning Fraser River, the vibrant Seabird Island Band community has prospered on these fertile lands since time immemorial. Today, over 1,000 proud, resilient residents call our close-knit community home. We blend the rich cultures of the Stó:lō and Nlaka’pamux peoples, united by Halq’eméylem, the upriver dialect of the Downriver dialect.
Our people walk hand-in-hand to build a healthy, self-sufficient nation for generations to come. We invest in health, education, culture, infrastructure, and economic growth to uplift all community members. Seabird offers top-quality healthcare centered in Stó:lō traditions to support wellness from birth onwards. Our school provides a culturally-rich curriculum alongside college prep and trades training. We bolster food security, revitalize language, and steward our lands and waters. Our nation exercises its inherent right to self-governance under the leadership of a democratically elected Chief and Council. Guided by wisdom passed down from our ancestors, we empower youth, care for Elders, confront injustices, and prosper together as one family.
The upriver dialect of Halq’eméylem, part of the Coast Salish family, serves as the mother tongue of the Seabird Island people. Our on-reserve school provides Halq’eméylem language education to connect youth with their linguistic heritage. Elders also pass down the language through oral storytelling, songs, and place names that share wisdom. Halq’eméylem reflects our distinct worldview and relationship with the land. It binds us to our identity as part of the Fraser River ecosystem. Unfortunately, many decades of colonial oppression targeted Indigenous languages nation-wide. The last residential school survivor fluent in Halq’eméylem passed on in 2019. Now our community strives to reclaim our dialect through immersive programs. We work diligently to grow the number of fluent speakers once more. Halq’eméylem reminds us where we come from – and its restoration empowers future generations. Language revitalization goes hand-in-hand with cultural resurgence and self-determination. At Seabird Island, we walk together towards a thriving future guided by our sacred language.
Seabird Island thrives under the leadership of our democratically elected Chief and Council, who uphold Indigenous governance and steer our nation’s progress. Our current Chief is Jim Harris, who provides wise guidance grounded in compassion. Chief Harris leads a dynamic 8-person Council dedicated to community service: Councillors Chaundine Fisher, Marcie Peters, Rod Peters, Alexis Grace, Willow Walker, Ashley Bobb, Sally Hope, and Paul Andrew. Each Councillor holds cultural portfolios to nurture language, heritage, lands, youth empowerment and more. This governing body advocates for Seabird Island from the local to national level while driving strategic initiatives to benefit our people. With community input, they set the vision to bolster health, education, infrastructure, and economic growth. Under their stewardship, we walk the road to self-sufficiency and self-governance step-by-step. Seabird Island’s Chief and Council exemplify the power of shared purpose in uplifting current and future generations. Their unified leadership propels our nation forward.