Learn to Pronounce a Nation’s Name Correctly
In the residential school system, Indigenous children would often be punished if they spoke their own language. As a result, many survivors of residential schools did not teach their children their language. In this way, many languages have been lost and others are on the brink of extinction.
The erasure of Indigenous languages is the erasure of Indigenous cultures and worldview. Indigenous language imparts a worldview that is vastly different from that of colonial settler culture.
For example, the notion of sovereignty, a common concept underpinning Canadian law, is a largely European construct, and in many ways is in direct contrast with what the Coast Salish believe.
YELḰÁTŦE (Rob Clifford) a W̱SÁNEĆ PhD law student explains, “Sovereignty tends to be actualized as supreme authority over nature, or power without limitation for instance. Whereas for us, we have a responsibility to care for the Islands because they aren’t separate from us. In our creation story, they are our ancestors or ‘Relatives of the Deep’.” WSÁNEĆ Laws outline the rights of others, and our responsibility to our relatives, limiting our power over nature.
How to find out the correct pronunciation of a nation’s name:
- Check the nation’s website, they may have a pronunciation guide on their “About” page, an audio recording of their name, or videos that include people saying the nation’s name;
- Call the Nation after hours and listen to their answering machine recording; or,
- Search the internet for other territorial acknowledgements that may be captured on audio or video.
To listen to the correct pronunciation of W̱SÁNEĆ click here
To listen to the correct pronunciation of SENĆOŦEN, the language of the W̱SÁNEĆ people click here