Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC)

Traditional Knowledge Labels

What are TK (Traditional Knowledge) Labels?

TK Labels are meant to help people outside our community understand the importance and significance of our cultural heritage. The labels provide information that is hard to find or missing from the current public record, such as community and family names, what conditions of use are considered appropriate, how to contact relevant family or community members, and how to arrange the right kind of permissions. They are used to help educate visitors to this website about the rights and responsibilities related to Sq’éwlets knowledge and cultural heritage.

How do they work?

TK Labels work like any other kind of label you might come across. For example, a label on your clothing tells you where it was made. A label on your bread tells you its contents. The difference with TK Labels is that our community chose the labels used on this site in order to help site visitors to understand and respect our knowledge and cultural heritage.

What is Sq’éwlets traditional knowledge?

While we were producing this website, our community members discussed our own perceptions of Sq’éwlets traditional knowledge. As Sq’éwlets and Stό:lō people, our traditional knowledge is “our world, our teachings.” It is what comes down from our ancestors, passed from generation to generation. It is learning about your relations and taking care of the natural world. We learn how to look after the plants, animals, birds, the harvests, and the land. We learn how to respect ourselves and each other, how to give names, how to respect our world in ceremony. Everyone has a role—women, men, children, Elders. You learn from your Elders and peers, from experience with them and on the land. We have to learn and respect the teachings. Teachings from our Elders sunk in and stayed with us because we had an emotional connection.

When people didn’t listen properly, they were turned to stone. Stone markers all over our territory are a reminder to respect the teachings. The Indian Act took away our traditional methods of teaching and learning. Instead of thinking many generations ahead, we were taught to think about “now”. This way of doing things had terrible consequences for our traditional decision-making and economies. Today, we are re-learning our traditional teachings and bringing them back into our ways of doing things in our community.

How are TK Labels used in this website?

Based on these teachings, our Sq’éwlets members considered which types of TK Labels were most suitable to this website. We chose the six labels which we have described here.

For more information on TK Labels, please visit:

Four labels apply to the entire website: attribution, non-commercial, outreach and verified.

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Skwíx qas te téméxw

This website represents the true knowledge and history of Sq’éwlets people. The attribution label literally means ‘name’ and ‘place’ in our language, skwix qas te téméxw. We ask everyone that visits this website to attribute our knowledge and histories to us, the Sq’éwlets people, a tribe of Stό:lō. Our history has not always been respected or told correctly. Here we tell our own story in our own words. We are both holders and caretakers of our own lands, resources, and histories. It is the responsibility of our families and communities as Stό:lō people to take care of these things in a respectful way. Please feel free to contact us with further questions about attribution.

White no money sign on black tag.


Eweta xwóxweyem

This website was produced for educational purposes. The non-commercial label refers to the fact that this knowledge is not to be used for commercial purposes. In our language, eweta xwóxweyem literally means ‘no selling’. We ask everyone to respect this label.

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This website is intended to share who we are as Sq’éwlets people, and particularly to educate. The outreach label means ‘educating’ and ‘teaching’ in our language, s'íwes. We ask that outsiders respect our culture by not using the content out of context. If you use content on this website, please be respectful. We also encourage you to contact our Band to learn more about us and to create opportunities to learn more about us and our culture and history.

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iyólem syó:ys

The knowledge presented on this website was created through a community decision-making process directed by our Elders. The verified label acknowledges that this knowledge was produced through ‘correct work’ in our language, iyólem syó:ys, and has been approved by our community as a whole.

Other labels may be used for specific purposes on the website. For example:

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In our Stό:lō culture, certain types of knowledge are restricted in some way. This knowledge is considered sacred, secret, potent and/or private, and only certain people or families can and should have access to them. We call this xa:xa in our language. This label indicates that there is additional knowledge about a certain subject that cannot be shared on the website.


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In Stό:lō culture, certain kinds of knowledge are held, taken care of, and shared by certain families. The label ts'elhxwélmexw literally means ‘family’. Some information on this website was shared by the families who have the right to hold that knowledge. It is important to recognize family-held knowledge in our culture.