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"First Words"

stó:lō
river

Halq'eméylemqel
Halkomelem language

chíchelh siyá:m
God

xwélmexw
First Nation Person


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Halq'eméylem app


About The people

The ''Stó:lō'' (also sometimes written ''Stó:lô'' or ''Stó:lõ'', historically as ''Staulo''; are a group of First Nations peoples inhabiting the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Nineteen Stó:lō First Nations are mutually affiliated as the Stó:lô Nation. They traditionally speak the Upriver dialect of Halkomelem, one of the Salishan languages|Salishan family of languages of the Coast Salish peoples. ''Stó:lō'' is the Halkomelem word for the Fraser River. The Stó:lō are thus ''the river people''.

Origins of a people in this region The first traces of a people living in the Fraser Valley date from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. ''S'ólh Téméxw'', is the Halkomelem word the people use to refer to their traditional territory. These early inhabitants of the area were highly mobile hunter-gatherers. There is archeology|archeological evidence of a settlement in the lower Fraser Canyon (called "the Milliken site") and a seasonal encampment ("the Glenrose Cannery site") near the mouth of the Fraser River. Remains of this latter campsite show that in spring and early summer they came here to hunt land and sea mammals, such as deer, elk, and Pinniped|seals and, to a lesser extent, fish for salmon, stickleback, eulachon, and sturgeon and gather shellfish. Their social structure was egalitarian and family-based. Their livelihood depended on their success at harvesting the resources of the land and the rivers through fishing, foraging and hunting. {{cite book | author=Carlson, Keith Thor (ed.) | title= A Stó:lō-Coast Salish Historical Atlas | location=Vancouver, BC | publisher=Douglas & McIntyre | year=2001 | pages = 6-18 | id=ISBN 1-5505-4812-3}}

Stó:lō elders describe their connection to the land in the statement "we have always been here." They tell of their arrival in ''S'ólh Téméxw'' as ''Tel Swayel'' ("sky-borne" people) and through the shapeshifting|transformations of ancestral animals and fish such as the beaver, mountain goat, and sturgeon. ''Xexá:ls'' (transformers) fixed the world and the people and animals in it, creating the present landscape. As Carlson notes:

The Stó:lō walk simultaneously through both spiritual and physical realms of this landscape, connected to the Great Spirit|Creator through the land itself as transformed by Xexá:ls.


The Halq'eméylem app is a media-rich bilingual dictionary and phrase collection comprised of words and phrases archived at the online Aboriginal language database FirstVoices.com.
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Status of Our Language

Name of Archive
Halq'eméylem

Language Family
Salish

Country
Canada

Region
Lower Mainland British Columbia

# of Words Archived
1745

# of Phrases Archived
667
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