Artist Toni Onley paints transformer stone for auction (1991)

Xá:ytem pronounced (HAY-tem) is a Halq’eméylem word meaning sudden transformation. The downriver dialect of Halq’eméylem is the language spoken by Stó:lō peoples. Xá:ytem was formerly referred to as Hatzic Rock but was changed in 1997 to more accurately depict the site’s importance in Stó:lō oral history.

According to Stó:lō oral history, Xá:ytem is the location where the Transformer Xá:ls turned three Stó:lō Sí:yam or leaders into stone. The scientific explanation is that the stone is an erratic deposited by glacial retreat some twelve thousand years ago. Regardless, the historical and cultural significance of the site is undeniable.

In July of 1992, the Federal Government designated Xá:ytem as a National Historic Site. It is one of the first indigenous spiritual sites to be recognized as such.

“Hatzic Rock is an exception. It should be the norm” – Gordon Mohs, April (1993)