Ben West took a walk around the Stanley Park seawall with Khelsilem a Coast Salish First Nations language teacher to learn more about a giant boulder known as Siwash Rock that sits on west side of Stanley Park, the site of the Vancouver meet up of The Great Climate Race. Khelsilem is from Squamish Nation, whose traditional territory is 6,732 square kilometers (673,200 hectares) around what we now know as British Columbia, Canada, including parts of Vancouver. Squamish Nation has a strong, rich history and have their own government, Chiefs and Council and belief systems and traditions. The First Nations that once occupied BC before European colonialist forces arrived, have a shared, complex history with other Coast Salish First Nations like Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh that they have passed on through oral traditions. Khelsilem is helping to revive the Skwxwú7mesh Snichim or the Squamish language which is critically endangered. Skwxwú7mesh (pronounced Squ-HO-o-meesh) means “the Squamish People.” Khelsilem speaks Skwxwú7mesh fluently and is an advocate for the renaissance of indigenous languages globally.
This video explores the origins of what we now know as “Siwash” rock. Do you know the traditional teaching associated with this landmark and the history of the word Siwash? If you live in the area or have seen this rock, you will probably never see this rock the same way again.
The Great Climate Race International Virtual Race takes place on the last week of October 2017. Sign up here: http://www.greatclimaterace.org/virtualrace