Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Local Language

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to learn Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim. Probably since my parents took me to my first pow wow on the Capilano Reserve. I made up "native songs" to sing while I hoped nobody was listening. They probably consisted of a lot of "hey-ah-ho", repeated.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language and culture is not something we've been privileged enough to learn, in our culture. We just live beside them, feeling our surroundings and growing to know and love the lands in this Salish Sea, without the adequate words to describe them. In the current global economy, languages like French, Mandarin, and Spanish are probably more useful, but although we may be global citizens needing to navigate this shrinking world, we are also citizens of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh territory, harvesters of stink currant and sugar kelp, watchers of the snow-line on the mountain we call Sleeping Bear, and humans with feet rooted in the many unique earth-types we walk upon. We need a language that expresses our home. I would like to find methods and opportunities for us to learn this language that speaks to our hearts.

Practically speaking, there is a 12-week language course that I'd LOVE to take with our whole family, but something is holding me back. I feel a bit like I would walking down Main St. in a saree. Beautiful, and totally out of place! I suffer from that same white guilt/shame that most of us seem to, and I'm so afraid of stepping out of line, being too present, etc. Being unwelcome. Once, at a closing ceremony for a family member of our friend, we stood around the fire outside the sweat on the Capilano reserve, and we were asked if we wanted to go into the sweat. I was surprised to be asked, and was cautioned by someone else that although it was his duty to ask me, it was also my duty to decline. OK. No problem. But what will I do without my friends around to give me that advice!? Hence my hesitation. Well... I have enough hesitation that I haven't even called to ask if we're allowed. Maybe it's only for Squamish people. Hm. I guess they can always say no. I hope so.

Here are some of my favourite links:

1 comment:

  1. I think you should go for it and take your beautiful family along for the adventure. I think we should try as beings to be more open to the diversity of humans out there. What we experience first hand is only but maybe one bazillionth of what people are actually like out in the world. That's just my thoughts, though.


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