Conversations with Khahtsahlano, 1932–1954 contains twenty-two years of conversations between Sḵwx̱uwú7mesh Chief X̱ats’alanexw, a.k.a. Chief August Jack Khahtsahlano, and Major J.S. Matthews. Originally published in 1955 by the Vancouver City Archives, Conversations with Khahtsahlano received a limited publication and is reproduced here in facsimile.
Chief X̱ats’alanexw’s reminiscences travel as far back as 1881. He recounts neighbourhood tales, the Traditional Stories he grew up with, local genealogies, cultural histories, and detailed accounts of practices for everything from fishing sturgeon to building houses. Knowledgeable and forthcoming, Chief X̱ats’alanexw’s recollections weave a meticulous tapestry.
After centuries of violent erasure of Indigenous world views, here is a rare first-hand account detailing traditional life of the Coast Salish peoples, an insightful record rich with art, diagrams, maps, letters, and photographs. Chief X̱ats’alanexw’s observations give shape to the social and physical changes of the region, and offer an illuminating glimpse into so-called Vancouver in its infancy. Conversations with Khahtsahlano is an essential text that brings history indelibly to life.