Saying he’e’ instead of ‘uwu

May. 5/16

The language of the Coast Salish people is what holds your identity and your culture together. We have been trying to speak more Hul’q’umi’num here at the health center and we have been encouraging  parents to use the language more. It is a funny thing though that I hear ‘uwu (No) often but when I asked a parent how to say yes (he’e’) they did not know how. This says something about what messages we send our children. Just stop for a minute and think of how many times today you have said no.

When our children hear ‘uwu, a negative message continually, it can diminish their self-esteem. Our self-esteem is built by hearing positive things about ourselves as we grow up. Saying ‘uwu limits their possibilities by saying what they can’t do instead of what they can do. Like when they come running in and slam the door, what do we say? No, don’t slam the door when we could be saying “This is the way we close the door” and demonstrate for them as you close the door gently.

So as we learn our language let’s start by learning the words that are positive and that will increase your child self-esteem and make them feel good about themselves, a ‘uy mustimuxw and who they are, Coast Salish people who speak Hul’q’umi’num with pride.