Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada
The Languages of those who came first
The Hul'qumi'num Language
First Nations living just to the north of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve make up eight communities that speak Hul'qumi'num. These communities continue to have a connection to the land that has now become the park.
About the speaker:
Mabel Mitchell has been teaching the Hul'qumi'num language since 1987 for vancouver island's school district 68 to students from kidergarten to grade 12.
Mabel Mitchell© Parks Canada / 2005
For the last three year, she has been the HUL'QUMI'NUM Treaty Group's translator.
Born in 1940, Mabel started fishing with her late husband in 1966.
The family fished cod around the east point of Saturna Island (Tl'uqtuqsun, [pointed or long nose] ) every year. Because the couple used live herring as bait for the cods, they would start their fishing expeditions by capturing herrings around Boat Passage on Saturna Island ( Xwixwyus, [swift narrow passage], see
). The family would also often go to Prevost Island
(Hwu'eshwum, [Place of Seals], ) to dig clams and and to camp, sometimes for up to 10 days at a time.
After her husband passed away in 1978, Mabel worked as a deck hand on a west coast commercial vessel until 1983. In 1984, she decided to go back to school to study the field of early childhood. It is from there that she entered the field of language instruction.
Listen to Mabel as she speaks some common words in her native tongue by pressing the play button on the media bar next to the word.