Capilano Tea House challenges businesses in Coast Salish territory

Capilano Tea House challenges businesses in Coast Salish territory

Indigenous women in business, Paisley Eva Nahanee, owner, and Kyliea Gallager, manager, at The Capilano Tea House and Botanical Soda company pop-up launch party on December 10, 2015. Credit: Filippova Photography

Indigenous women in business, Paisley Eva Nahanee, owner, and Kyliea Gallager, manager, at The Capilano Tea House and Botanical Soda company pop-up launch party on December 10, 2015.
Credit: Filippova Photography

Capilano Tea House challenges business in Coast Salish territory to donate to Kwi Awt Stelmexw. Kwi Awt Stelmexw as a non-profit organization is proud to work with companies that match our shared values. We especially want to support businesses owned and operated by Squamish People!

The Capilano Tea House and Botanical Soda Co. is a new business started by mother-daughter duo Michelle and Paisley Nahanee. For the month of December they operated a pop-up shop in Gastown.

The Capilano Tea House closed their pop-up shop doors on December 23rd, but watch out! They’ll be opening their permanent store in Gastown at 221 Abbott Street in Gastown on February 1, 2016. They told us that they “will be open from 11am to 7pm daily with a full ‘local meets global’ menu offering”.

Here’s what you need to know about this wonderful business:

The Capilano Tea House and Botanical Soda Company is Indigenous-owned and plant-inspired. We infuse the traditional local with the traditional global for a very Vancouver, curated flavour offering.

Simultaneously fresh and ancient, our teas pair local foods like Juniper Berries and Nettles with global favourites including Rooibos and Green teas.  Our delicious small-batch sodas mix florals with fruits: imagine lavender with ginger and rose petals with lemon for starters.

The Capilano is owned and operated by Michelle and Paisley Nahanee, a mother-daughter family from the Squamish Nation. We walk in two worlds, infusing the traditional teachings of our family throughout our contemporary business practices.

All their teas are available to purchase online at with Canadian and US shipping options.

But here’s the best part: on December 31st, 2015, the Capilano Tea House shared this and issued a challenge to all local businesses operating in Coast Salish territory:

On December 31, 2015 we sent (Kwi Awt Stelmexw) 20% of our retail tea sales for December totalling $480.00. For the new year, we challenge First Nations and non-First Nations businesses and organizations operating in Coast Salish territory to match or beat our contribution. Let’s reconstruct the impact of business on Indigenous Peoples together. 

We hold our hands up to The Capilano Tea Company for making their generous donation to our Language Revitalization Fund. Our organization exists to do the work we do because of people who believe in our vision. Please support The Capilano Tea Company and support the Squamish People.

Would you donate $5 or $10 to help Squamish People revitalize the Squamish Language?

Yes, I would to contribute to the revitalization of the Squamish Language.

Are you a business that would like to talk about responding to this challenge and donate to Kwi Awt Stelmexw?

Yes, I am a business and would love to talk more.

Place Name Website Launched

Place Name Website Launched


Kwi Awt Stelmexw proudly launched the on December 21st, 2016. is a digital Squamish language names for places around Vancouver and beyond.

Place Name Recognition

Untitled-2 curator Khelsilem talked about his reason for wanting to make this map saying,

Place name recognition is an entry point to reconciliation and repatriation. There’s the type of repatriation that can happen between the governments of nations and there’s the repatriation that ordinary citizens of communities can participate in. We invite all to learn the names of areas in their neighborhood the way we learn the names of Vancouver neighborhoods like “Gastown”, “West End”, “Point Grey”.


  • Places named by Squamish language speakers in the Squamish language, sometimes Squamish-ifying the names from neighboring languages.
  • No boundaries/territorial lines. The map is for educational purposes and not a statement of claim or title.
  • The Squamish language name, an interpretation (not translation) of that name by various language speakers when possible.
  • Audio pronunciation of the names to be released in next major update.

An example from for the Vancouver area.


Visit to see it all!

Oh The Places You Should Know

Oh The Places You Should Know

Updated November 11th, 2015: As of right now, our “A Place Name Party” for December 21st, 2015 is sold out. We are overwhelmed and ecstatic by the response. There is a small wait list though. We are grateful for the interest in our work. Please stay tuned as we announce more details for this exciting project.

A Place Name Party

Kwi Awt Stelmexw is a non-profit organization new to the arts & culture scene in Vancouver. Our work is to strengthen the Coast Salish heritage, language, culture, and art of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Peoples. Join us at our launch event for the “oh the places you should know” project.

In 1937, City of Vancouver archivst Major Mathews interviewed respected Sḵwx̱wú7mesh historian August Jack Khatsalano to contribute to the documentation of place names around Vancouver in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Language. This map, written in a shorthand writing system at the time, is now being updated and re-released 78 years later.

Join KWI AWT STELMEXW at our launch party and unveiling of this mapping project that brings together cultural history, language preservation, and re-recognition of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh identity on the social, political, and cultural landscape.

Place Name Recognition

Vancouver is filled with place names. Most Vancouverites recognize names like Davie, Denman, and Granville, or neighborhoods like Gastown, Mount Pleasant, and the West End. Beneath this veneer of a great city is the language and land history of an older society that has existed here for thousands of years.

Kwi Awt Stelmexw is proud to pre-release the beta version of the “oh the places you should know” project. This map shows place names in and around Vancouver in the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) language.

We at Kwi Awt Stelmexw believe place name recognition can be an entry point to redress and restitution.
The beta includes no audio component at this time, but we will be developing that for the official launch of the project on December 21st, 2015.

December 21st, 2015
6:30pm Doors
7:00pm Event Starts
Sold Out

Click the image below to see the map project.

Edit: “This map shows Sḵwx̱wú7mesh homelands and territory. Where one might mistakenly assume “boundaries” applied here refer to strict or defined territoral boundaries, the map is intended to show the main areas of use and occupancy by the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh.”


Our ‘Startup’ Non-Profit

Our ‘Startup’ Non-Profit

Thank you for visiting our newly launched site. You may also find out on twitter or facebook or instagram!

Our organization was started with a dream. Vancouver has been declared as being on “unceded Coast Salish territory”. The Indian Residential School policy has been declare cultural genocide. And yet the work to rebuild our Indigenous communities continues!

Kwi Awt Stelmexw is a phrase that means “the ancestors” in our Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language. We chose this phrase as the name of our organization because of a simple understanding:
We are ancestors to the generations to come.

What we do

Kwi Awt Stelmexw is a new start-up non-profit. In the coming months you can expect us to announce:

  • A sponsor campaign to create a community of supporters of our work.
  • A place name mapping project that connects the public to the rich history connecting land to language.
  • Details of a six month language immersion fellowship program offered to people of Coast Salish ancestry.
  • The plans for a Coast Salish Cultural Centre space in the City of Vancouver.
  • The City of Vancouver has long needed an organization that creates a platform for the Coast Salish cultural production of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh peoples. We aim to create bold, innovative practices that represent our people honourably, and create a sustainable legacy for our people with heritage, language, culture, and art.

Kwi Awt Stelmexw exists to change the world.