29 8 / 2014
A word used a lot in Squamish culture is “chiyáx̱w”. It is said to mean “protocol” or “the law of our peoples”. In the English dictionary a protocol is “a system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations”.
The word chiyáx̱w is actually a quiver for arrows. (See the the container holding Legolas’ arrows for his bow — that’s a quiver.)
The word started getting used as a metaphor in the past few decades by some of our speakers for our culture. That all of our cultural aspects are arrows and our chiyáx̱w holds these things together.
Again, it was used as a metaphor and only started being used as such most recently it seems.
There seems to be a perception now that there is a set rules for everything in our culture and that some families are following the correct rules and others are breaking the rules.
The reality being prior to contact there were so many villages with so many families it is inconceivable not to think of how many different ways of doing things there would have been.
And of the cultural knowledge we gained from our old times we know even amongst them there was differences and perspectives on how things COULD be done (notice: I’m not saying ‘should’ be done).
The word protocol makes it sound like this is how our culture works.
"Protocol is in everything we do. It’s our law, our teachings, our way of life."
A container for arrows is in everything we do?
28 8 / 2014
At some point in the last few decades the word nəc̓aʔmat (in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓) or nch’ú7mut (in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) was said to mean “one heart; one mind” in the respective languages.
nəc̓aʔ or nch’ú7 are the words for the number one (#1). The thing added to the end of those words in both languages mean “a piece (of something)”. Examples could be cake, pizza, or food. Usable in sentences such as “I would like one piece of cake”.
In the 1980’s it was proposed to Coast Salish political leaders as a concept to express “political unity” in that a person or a group is but one piece of the whole.
Yet people make it sound like it is an ancient concept unique to Coast Salish culture.
25 8 / 2014
Using the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ writing system, note the differences in how these names are said in English compared to their historical or correct pronunciations in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language. The names are written phonetically in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language.
Using the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh writing system, note the differences in how these names are said in English compared to their historical or correct pronunciations in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language. The names are written phonetically in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) language.
In both the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh writing systems, the names are written PHONETICALLY. In both writing systems the language is writing these names how it sounds —- again in that writing system.
It is not possible to write either of these languages “phonetically” in the English writing system because the English writing system does not have symbols for many sounds found in both languages.
As you may note, the English versions (sləywatəwθ/Slaywátewth; sqʷaməš/Skwamesh; and məskʷiyəm/Xwmétskwiyam) are quite different from their traditional conterparts.
I thought it may be interesting for people to see the differences this way, even if you can’t understand the symbols or read our writing systems, you may be able to see the differences still.
There is no obligation on anyone to learn the “proper”, “traditional” or “correct way” to say these names. These are names of places and people in the two local Coast Salish languages and both are correct depending on what language you wanted to speak. My advice is not to feel guilty for mispronouncing or not knowing. No one will fault you for that and you burden us who do use it/say it correctly with having to comfort you.
Be curious. Accept that you don’t know or don’t know how to say these things and that that is okay. If you want to learn then great. But don’t act like it is some horrible thing you’re saying sləywatəwθ instead of səlil̓wət-aʔɬ or Skwamesh instead of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh.
And if you learn how to say “Ha7lhshen ta a s7átsḵ. Ti-enchá chexw?”, you will get a cookie! Hahaha.
18 8 / 2014
13 8 / 2014
More information found on Squamish Nation website here:
Feel free to share.
07 8 / 2014
05 8 / 2014