Legends of the Capilano


Bringing the Legends home

Legends of the Capilano updates E. Pauline Johnson’s 1911 classic Legends of Vancouver, restoring Johnson’s intended title for the first time. This new edition celebrates the storytelling abilities of Johnson’s Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) collaborators, Joe and Mary Capilano, and supplements the original fifteen legends with five additional stories narrated solely or in part by Mary Capilano, highlighting her previously overlooked contributions to the book.

Alongside photographs and biographical entries for E. Pauline Johnson, Joe Capilano, and Mary Capilano, editor Alix Shield provides a detailed publishing history of Legends since its first appearance in 1911. Interviews with literary scholar Rick Monture (Mohawk) and archaeologist Rudy Reimer (Skwxwú7mesh) further considers the legacy of Legends in both scholars’ home communities. Compiled in consultation with the Mathias family, the direct descendants of Joe and Mary Capilano and members of the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, this edition reframes, reconnects, and reclaims the stewardship of these stories.


"Shield has skilfully opened up a new avenue to the past with potentially wide ranging appeal both to scholars and students and to general readers."

Jean Barman, University of British Columbia

About the Authors

E. Pauline Johnson (1861−1913), known also by her Kanien’kehá:ka name Tekahionwake, was a widely known poet, performer, and writer born on Six Nations of the Grand River territory (near Brantford, Ontario).

Joe Capilano (c.1854−1910), known also by his Skwxwú7mesh name Sahpluk, was a Skwxwú7mesh leader, activist, and orator from Xwmelch’sten (Capilano Reserve no. 5 in North Vancouver, BC).

Mary Agnes Capilano (c.1840–1940), known also by her Skwxwú7mesh name Lixwelut, was a Skwxwú7mesh matriarch known for her activism and leadership in the Skwxwú7mesh community.

Alix Shield teaches in the Department of Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University. Her current research analyzes collaboratively authored twentieth and twenty-first century Indigenous women’s literatures in Canada.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


Author's Foreword to the 1911 Edition


The Two Sisters

The Siwash Rock

The Recluse

The Lost Salmon Run

The Deep Waters

The Sea-Serpent

The Lost Island

Point Grey

The Tulameen Trail

The Grey Archway

Deadman's Island

A Squamish Legend of Napoleon

The Lure in Stanley Park

Deer Lake

A Royal Mohawk Chief

The Legend of the Two Sisters

The Legend of the Squamish Twins

The Legend of the Seven Swans

The Legend of Lillooet Falls

The Legend of the Ice Babies

Interview with Rick Monture

Interview with Rudy Reimer




Selected Bibliography

University of Manitoba Press is grateful for the support it receives for its publishing program from the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund; the Canada Council for the Arts; the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, and Tourism; the Manitoba Arts Council; and the Aid to Scholarly Publishing Programme.