|Photo: Patrice Halley
The Legend of Ts’yl-os
An oral account of the mountain that protects the Xeni Gwet'in
Adapted by Clive Chan
The legend of Ts'yl-os (pronounced SIGH-loss) is well known to the First Nations people of
the Xeni Gwet'in. It says that many years ago, before the arrival of white settlers, a man
and his wife lived in the mountains near Konni Lake.
'Eniyud, after not getting along with Ts'yl-os, flung her newborn into Ts'yl-os's lap,
and took three of her six children, and left, headed to the Tatlayoko Valley. In her journey,
she planted wild potatoes that can still be found by visitors to the Chilcotin Plateau today.
With 'Eniyud gone, Ts'yl-os and the three children turned into rock, the infant still nestled
in his father's lap. 'Eniyud traveled with her children to the other side of the valley and
also turned to rock. Their figures can be viewed from Xeni Lake.
The Xeni Gwet'in Elders warn not to point at Mount Ts'yl-os (Mount Tatlow), for it would
bring bad turns in weather to travelers, especially if they are on foot or on horseback.
The same is said about camping near Eniyud, except she is even crueler.
It is even said that Ts'yl-os is not friendly towards white travelers. A band of white
cowboys is said to have found out the hard way. Seeing the tall and plentiful grass of the
Talayoko Valley, they intended to bring their cattle there to graze. Despite being told of
the legend, the cowboys were unconvinced.
After leaving some of their cattle behind, the men went back for a second herd. When they
returned, they found the valley buried in four feet of snow, trapping the cattle and horses.
Realizing the power of Ts'yl-os, the men retreated along the Chiko River and built a ranch
Elders have passed on the legend of Ts'yl-os though many generations. To this day, Ts'yl-os
is a place of respect for the Xeni Gwet'in, one that watches over them and their land.