The Katzie people are the original inhabitants of the Hammond area.
“The Katzie once comprised five communities in the region, each with its own founding chief and which, according to the Katzie, were the foundation of other peoples in the region, notably the Musqueam and Kwantlen. Oe’lecten and his people were based at what is now known as Pitt Lake, Swaneset at Sheridan Hill, Xwoe’pecten at Port Hammond (whose descendants became the Kwantlen), Smakwec at Point Roberts (whose people, the Nicomekl were largely killed in a smallpox epidemic in the 18th century), and C’simlenexw at Point Grey (whose descendents became the Musqueam). Today’s Katzie are primarily the descendants of Oe’lecten and Swaneset.”
— Wikipedia, “Katzie”
“More than any other aspect of settlement by non-natives, epidemic diseases, for which native peoples held no immunity, served to diminish the size and influence of the Katzie people in the Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge area. After smallpox came tuberculosis, Spanish influenza, measles and a variety of other ailments to which the Europeans had developed resistance. As a result of these and other factors, the Katzie people, by the 1990s, had been reduced to about 400 individuals, about half of whom live on three reserves, in Pitt Meadows, on Barnston Island, and on the Fraser at Langley. Katzie’s two other reserves consist of a parcel of land opposite the boat launch at Grant Narrows, and a small cemetery in Maple Ridge. The reserves were established in the colonial period, and later adjusted and confirmed in the 1880s and in 1916. The Katzie community is growing, however, and is continuing its efforts to preserve a place for itself in its traditional territory. Katzie maintains a strong local presence in the salmon fisheries, and Katzie people continue to hunt throughout the territory and utilize the landscape as best they can.”
— from the introduction to The Heritage Resources of Maple Ridge, provided by the Katzie people
“Our ancestors were traditionally a longhouse society, meaning extended families shared the same residence. Our people were self-governing, which saw our leaders holding responsibility for the welfare and security of the people. Currently, we are attempting to revive traditions and practices that have been lost over time due to colonial influences. Our traditional language is Halkomelem, which we are also attempting to revive.”
— from the Katzie First Nation website