In the event you’ve pushed the Sea to Sky Freeway, you’ll have puzzled what the phrases Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) on road indicators imply and tips on how to say them.
The indicators, put in in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics, commemorate the area’s wealthy indigenous historical past – and likewise the makes an attempt to erase that historical past after indigenous lands had been stolen.
These names embody Okay’emk’emeláy, one in all many Sḵwx̱wú7mesh village settlements that had been destroyed by the BC authorities throughout colonization to make method for settlers and industrialization. The realm would change into the beginnings of Vancouver at present.
As we close to the top of the month of indigenous peoples historical past, many are desirous to be taught extra concerning the peoples and cultures of their native communities.
Listed below are three Sḵwx̱wú7mesh place names, their historical past, and why they’re nonetheless essential to the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh folks.
Okay’emk’emeláy was as soon as a thriving seasonal village for the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) peoples to collect and harvest seafood.
Pronounced “KEM-kem-a-lie,” the placement was on the foot of Gore Road, on the busy Principal Road Dock of Vancouver Harbor on the south financial institution of Burrard Inlet.
“Kemk’emeláy means ‘the place of many maple timber’ or a maple grove,” says Senaqwila Wyss, who started as an grownup to retrace the footsteps of her ancestors and relearn the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language that her grandmother had at St. Paul’s Residential College survived.
In 1865, Edward Stamp constructed the Hastings Mill on the location with help from the colonial authorities. The sawmill grew to become a settlement that expanded into what’s believed to be the early Vancouver stuff.
Wyss says archives present that greater than 100 of their Sḵwx̱wú7mesh folks lived and labored close to Hastings Mill by the top of the nineteenth century when additional industrialization displaced them.
She says visiting the outdated village websites reminds her of the territory it belongs to, the land that was stolen, and why it is essential to maintain this historical past and its language alive.
“Within the final 150 years our folks have seen such a change within the panorama. Now there are actually solely two maples right here at present,” she stated.
CLOCK | Senaqwila Wyss describes tips on how to pronounce three Sḵwx̱wú7mesh place names:
Throughout the space of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh there may be one other seasonal village sq. close to Kemk’emeláy known as Leḵ’leḵ’í, which freely interprets as “many leaves falling” or “leaves falling on the bottom”.
Pronounced “LEK-Lek-eye”, it’s positioned within the space now known as CRAB Park and was as soon as utilized by Wyss’ folks for fishing, clambling and searching.
Nevertheless, she says the title of the world just isn’t as clear as different Sḵwx̱wú7mesh village websites.
“There are such a lot of totally different time frames that this place title was recorded earlier than it was known as Leḵ’leḵ’í,” stated Wyss.
She stated some elders didn’t have a phrase for the world that may very well be simply translated into English. It’s related with the village, which has similarities to her first title.
The village known as Sen̓áḵw, pronounced “sen-OUK”, was in an space close to Vanier Park on the banks of False Creek in Kitsilano.
The phrase Sen̓áḵw, Wyss stated, refers back to the form of the panorama and the connection of the water to the land – the top of the bay in what’s now False Creek – and generally refers back to the waterway itself.
Wyss stated the village was primarily used in the summertime months and was lined with longhouses of many Sḵwx̱wú7mesh households.
However they had been forcibly evicted from their land in 1913.
Beneath Conservative Prime Minister Richard McBride, the British Columbia authorities gave Sḵwxḵwú7mesh residents of Sen̓áḵw about two days to pack their belongings earlier than they had been placed on a barge and despatched to North Vancouver for the town of Vancouver to increase.
The federal government then burned down their homes and sheds.
“So it has a sense of displacement for us,” stated Wyss.
Following the federal authorities’s modification to the Indian Act of 1911, it was authorized to take away tribal peoples from reservations inside an included metropolis with out their consent.
However in 2002 the Squamish Nation regained a part of the nation.
“It’s a good feeling of satisfaction that our land, which we’ve got used for thus lengthy, is being acknowledged,” stated Wyss.
“I positively really feel like a powerful connection at present to realizing that we had ancestors who lived in Sen̓áḵw.”
She stated studying her language and instructing her kids made her really feel hopeful.
“Though a lot of our group has misplaced a lot to boarding faculty, we will nonetheless share these teachings and we nonetheless have those that will carry the torch for us sooner or later.”
How do you say ‘Sḵwx̱wú7mesh’ accurately?
If you’re driving north from Kemk’emeláy on the Sea to Sky Freeway, you will note the phrase Sḵwx̱wú7mesh on the street indicators.
“Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw” means “Squamish Folks” and “Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Snichim” refers back to the Squamish language.
As Wyss explains under, the “7” image in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh represents a glottal cease that acts as a pause within the phrase: