Speaking Our Language

By Roy L Hales

I probably first heard his Klahoose language program sometime between 2010 and 2013. We were already on Cortes and the radio was always tuned to CKTZ. By the time you hear this, he will have returned home from another teaching venue. Norm Harry was the eldest speaker for the  ɬəʔamɛn, or Klahoose, Nation. The ɬəʔamɛn and three other Northern Coast Salish nations recently came together for an event called Speaking Our Language.

“They call it … speaking our language. There is ɬəʔamɛn [Klahoose], xʷɛmaɬkʷu , ƛohos and komox, Four nations speak the same language. This is our territory and our land.” – Norm Harry

Norm Harry hosts the Klahoose Language show on Cortes Radio, CKTZ 89.5 FM, at 2:30 on Wednesdays.

In The Podcast Above:

  • How the Northern Coast Salish Nations (ʔayʔaǰuθəm) almost lost their language and the push to bring it back. 
  • The ʔayʔaǰuθəm dictionary
  • His experiences of residential schools and how they stripped First Nations people of their identity
  • The four rocks – in Campbell River, Lund, Squirrel Cove and Toba Inlet – on the traditional boundaries of the Klahoose territory.
  • hereditary family elders, how families dealt with problems in the longhouse
  • Animal spirits
  • Teaching the ɬəʔamɛn (Klahoose) language: numbers, body parts, other words
  • The book of place names and words words that has passed down from the four Dominick brothers
  • How these place names show where the ɬəʔamɛn went to pick berries or camp etc within their traditional territory. 

Klahoose Territory

“Thank-you from coming to the Klahoose territory* .… We say it with a good heart so that people feel welcome, not like an outcast. Especially when I am on the radio show. This is all our island. We have to share it as a home, even though it is the territory of the Klahoose people. You don’t get pushy about it, you do it in a polite manner so that everybody is equal. 

“Like you’re up there [on the hill overlooking the government wharf at Squirrel Cove] and I can wave and say there is Roy and feel good about it. Or go on the other side [of the island} and say the same thing to George West or somebody, or whoever you choose to be your friend or Howie.” 

Top photo credit: Norm Harry leading participants in a 2013 Village Workshop in prayer – Johnny Hanuse photo

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