Mulyitul: Hul’q’umi’num’ perspectives on a wedding ceremony

Bernadette Peter

About me
’een’thu Sti’tum’atulwut, tun’ni’ tsun ’utl’ kwa’mutsun. kwthunu menulh Ronald Peter ’i’ lhunu ten Ruby Peter Sti’tum’at. Her parents were Basil and Cecelia Alphonse. I am truly honored to be learning the Hul’q’umi’num’ language. I have three children and four grandkids, who are avid learners of our language.

My project
Public speaking is an important aspect of all Coast Salish ceremonies. It is our way in the Hul’q’umi’num’ territory for ceremonies to be conducted in our own language. While language and protocol at namings, funerals, and memorials has received research attention, weddings are an understudied topic. Weddings are especially complicated because they are a blend of native and modern elements, and they sometimes involve marriage of a community member to someone from outside the community—from a different cultural heritage. It can become a very sophisticated event to observe all the ceremonial elements required by both the bride’s and the groom’s families. This project documents Coast Salish protocols by laying down Hul’q’umi’num’ stories that describe traditional and modern proposals and that also illustrate ceremonial speaking at the wedding itself.

Keywords: Coast Salish weddings; Hul’q’umi’num’ language; ceremonial speaking