Have you heard of the Sasquatch? The Big Foot? The Yeti? Te Smailetl
I’m sure you have, you know that big, hairy creature that said to wander around remote mountains, valleys and forests. While you’ve likely heard stories of the sasquatch (or it’s other aliases – the big foot or yeti) you may not have known that according to local legends, the Sasquatch originated here in the Squamish backcountry. In Squamish, the Big Foot is known at the Wild People, or the legend of the Te Smailetl by the Squamish first nations. Enjoy the origin story of how the wild people came to be in Squamish, followed by a recent spotting.
Origins of the Te Smailetl, or wild people in Squamish
As told by an unnamed informant to Charles Hill-Tout, ca 1897-1900:
Once there was a chief who had a young and beautiful daughter. In order to protect her, the chief ordered a male slave to always sleep lying crosswise at the foot of the daughters bed. One night the slave crept to her side and ravished her while she slept. A little while later she found herself pregnant, but due to the nature, she was unsure who brought this shame upon her.
When she realized she was pregnant, she was anxious to find out who visited her. She suspected the intruder would pay her another visit and set a trap by spreading paint over the palms of her hands. Shortly after, the slave payed her a second visit. It was dark and she could not discover who he was, but fortunately she was able to press her paint-smeared hands upon his shoulders, leaving an impression on him without his knowledge. In the morning she was surprised to find it was the slave who visited her.
When the chief became aware of his daughter’s condition he was overwhelmed with shame. When he learnt who caused this disgrace, he took the guilty slave and his unfortunate daughter away in his canoe and left them to perish at high waterside cliff. The cliff had previously been regarded as inaccessible, but, somehow, the pair managed to climb it. After they reached the top of the cliff, they traveled inland amongst the mountains till they came to a lake. Here they stopped and built themselves a house, and the girl gave birth to a child.
After time, many other children were born to them, and as they reached maturity, they took each other as husband and wife and large community grew up around the lake. Though living in a wild state (without proper tools or other utensils) they never forgot their mother’s speech, and always conversed together in Squamish. The men were exceedingly tall, had a strong sense of smell and were great hunters. They dressed in garments made from the untanned skins of the animals they had slain and because of this the Squamish people called them the Te Smailetl, or wild people.
Recent Sasquatch Sightings near Squamish
We all love a good folklore tale, but sometimes, these local legends can be surprisingly truthful. While we don’t claim to be sasquatch scientists, we can’t help but share the potential truth with you.
For example, a few years ago, a biologist was working in a remote area near Tricouni Peak, Squamish when he caught sight of a lone figure moving up the slope of a snow-covered mountain (with no gear of any sort and moving much faster than humans normally do). The strange nature of this, and the figures bulk and speed, led the scientist to believe it was a sighting of the Squamish Nation Wild People. Check out the video here.
So what do you think? For more stories, simply google ‘Squamish Sasquatch’ and you’ll be surprised by the number of videos and tales of groups spotting the elusive wild people. Happy Sasquatch searching.