Bill Seward: Stories and Teachings

sqwul’qwul’ ’utl’ Ts’uqw’nustun

Bill Seward – Ts’uqw’nustun – was born at Snuneymuxw First Nation on May 7, 1920, where he lived until he passed away on October 29, 2012. He worked many jobs during his life, had a brilliant athletic career, and was well-known as a statesman and public speaker. A powerful advocate for his traditions and language, he leaves behind an important legacy of stories and teachings for his community, his family, and all the Hul’q’umi’num’ people to study and enjoy. Our linguist Donna Gerdts had the pleasure of working with him for four decades and remembers that he always made time to work on language documentation—working on dictionaries, lessons, and stories—because he considered it very urgent work to do everything possible to keep his language alive. He taught us that it is not only the language itself but the important teachings, the snuw’uyulh, that are embedded in the stories that must be carried forward to the future generations.

The videos here come from two different occasions. On April 2, 1998, he spoke at the Vancouver Museum, in Vancouver, British Columbia. We thank Chris Bouris for filming, Chris Bouris, Sean Milliken, and Zoey Peterson for video post-production, Sean Milliken for audio post-production, and Donna Gerdts for titles. Transcription and translation by Donna Gerdts and Theresa Thorne.

On November 16, 2005, he spoke at his home at Snuneymuxw First Nation, Nanaimo, British Columbia. We thank Chris Bouris for filming, and Chris Bouris, Sean Milliken and Zoey Peterson for video post-production. Transcription and translation by Ruby Peter, Sarah Kell, and Donna Gerdts.


Stories Relating to our Places


Bill Seward’s Personal Stories


Our Traditional Ways