q’ushin’tul’ ’u tunu shxw’a’luqw’a’

Gena Seward-Wilson

About me
I am a mother of three and we live in Nanaimo, where I teach Hul’q’umi’num’ for school district 68, following in the footsteps of my grandfather George Wyse and aunt Mandy Jones. I hope to teach my children and nieces and nephews Hul’q’umi’num’. I completed an MA at SFU.

My project
This project is a personal look into Hul’q’umi’num’ place names and how they provide a linguistic coding of our cultural heritage. I discuss the cultural and personal significance of some of the places in the unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. I call on my family history through the oral tradition of my people and draw on my own personal experiences to tell stories in our Hul’q’umi’num’ language of the places I am from, the places I have lived, and the places I have pulled a canoe. It is my hope that this research will help us reach a deeper understanding of place names and the teachings associated with the lands in which we live. I hope to inspire future generations of language learners by handing down the wisdom of our Elders to the younger generation and by showing the connections between our heritage teachings and language.

Keywords: Coast Salish, Hul’q’umi’num’ language, place names, cultural teachings