Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Temíxw

 

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The Squamish Lan­guage is nearly extinct.  The Squamish Naiton’s pop­u­la­tion grows to past 3600 peo­ple soon, yet only 0.02% speak the lan­guage flu­ently.  The causes for its decline are numer­ous; assim­i­la­tion poli­cies by Cana­dian governments, disruption of tra­di­tional ways of being by Set­tler dom­i­na­tion in our lands, and the embrac­ing of Western-style edu­ca­tion meth­ods.  Even though the sit­u­a­tion is severe, we are com­mit­ted, ded­i­cated, and will be suc­cess­ful at learn­ing our lan­guages so we can share it with future generations.

The Squamish lan­guage is the tra­di­tional lan­guage of the Squamish peo­ple.  Our peo­ple have had pres­ence in our home­lands since time immemo­r­ial.  We come from pow­er­ful ances­tors who gained inspi­ra­tional, even super­nat­ural, gifts.  For the entire exis­tence as a peo­ple stretch­ing back gen­er­a­tions, we have been speak­ers of Skwxwú7mesh sníchim (Squamish lan­guage). Only recently has this been altered.

In our lan­guage car­ries the knowl­edge, wis­dom, and guid­ance of our ances­tors.  It defines whats impor­tant, and what is good.  It shows us what our cul­ture says about learn­ing and acquir­ing knowl­edge.  It describes things in such detail and beauty, we can­not help by feel the strength of our ances­tors by the more we learn of our lan­guage.  Our lan­guage is like an old-growth for­rest of the mind.

How do reverse the decline of a lan­guage?  In our work, our first step is to “cre­ate an older gen­er­a­tion of language-speakers who become language-apprentices” able to pass on the lan­guage to a younger gen­er­a­tion.  To do this we need adults with knowl­edge, expe­ri­ence, and inter­est in learn to speak the lan­guage.  Through our web­site we are doc­u­ment­ing on-going revi­tal­iza­tion efforts, shar­ing lan­guage resources through dig­i­tal medi­ums, and bring the larger global com­mu­nity into aware­ness.  It has plans to grow into mul­ti­ple tools for lan­guage revi­tal­iza­tion with the blogpod­cast, and videos.

We built Squamish Language.com to doc­u­ment, share, and pro­mote our lan­guage.  We do acknowl­edge there is a risk in putting so much infor­ma­tion and resources out there for world con­sump­tion.  This is why we ask for your respect of what we share with you here.  This lan­guage belongs to the Squamish peo­ple, first and fore­most.  We also wanted to find the best ways to share our Squamish lan­guage with our own peo­ple, so they can feel empow­ered to reclaim their language.

We have a 5-year goal on how we will turn around the pos­si­ble death of our lan­guage. We hope you come back to Squamish Language.com to hear about how we are doing that.  Using social media is just the beginning!

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SquamishLanguage.com is run by vol­un­teers from the Squamish Nation community.

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