People / Mathias Joe (Chief Joe Capilano)

Native Chief. Also known as Sa7plek or Kiyapalanexw. Joe Capilano was born outside of Squamish, British Columbia in 1840. He grew up on a predominately Roman Catholic reserve near the Capilano River between North and West Vancouver. In 1895, Capilano was appointed by the Roman Catholic Church as a leader of his people, a position he would hold until his death. Prior to being made Chief, Capilano worked as a carver, a sawmill laborer, and a stevedore. Along with Cowichan Chief Charley Isipaymilt and Secwepemc Chief Basil David, Capilano traveled to London in 1906 to meet with King Edward VII. They sought an audience with the King to discuss the pressing needs of First Nations peoples in British Columbia, specifically, outstanding land claims. Though the three men were belittled in Vancouver press at the outset of their journey, they manage to gain access to the King, who was sympathetic to their cause. Upon his return, Capilano was labeled a troublemaker for repeating comments made to him by King Edward, and for organizing a meeting of the southern and northern tribes in 1907. Capilano passed away in 1910.

  1. 02. Mathias Joe (Chief Joe Capilano) with a Totem Pole
    Mathias Joe (Chief Joe Capilano) (Photograph)