Thomas Samuel Jones
I am from Snuneymuxw First Nations, and I completed an MA through the SFU Hul’q’umi’num’ language academy. I am active in the Coast Salish cultural community as a public speaker, artist, researcher, and paddler. My message to all: “yath ch ’uw’ qwa’qwul’ tthun’ sqwal!”
The goal of this project is to communicate Coast Salish traditional values and life lessons from my childhood through stories in my own language, Hul’q’umi’num’. The topics include early childhood, coming of age, and death. I received the name Sewit as a young child. Coast Salish childhood puts an emphasis on the value and importance of children juxtaposed with the lack of input they are given in cultural practices and important family discussions. The coming of age process transitions you out of childhood and you receive additional responsibilities. You may sit in on the discussions but you are not yet at a place where you can contribute. Death contributes to your transition to the final stage where you are now part of the discussion as the torch is passed from elder to young adult. The other part of the final transition was receiving a chieftainship and the corresponding name, Kweyulutstun.
Keywords: Coast Salish, Hul’q’umi’num’ language, coming of age, ceremonial speaking,