Willie Seymour Speaks

Willie Seymour: sxwi’em’ ’i’ tthu snuw’uyulh

Willie Seymour – Sxweltun – respected Elder, language expert, and storyteller, was born and raised in Stz’uminus First Nation. When he passed away at age 66 in 2015, it was a very sad loss for the Hul’q’umi’num’ community because Willie was recognized as the best speaker of his generation. Willie was a nationally recognized orator and spokesperson for Hul’q’umi’num’ traditions and language. Willie’s talents as a spokesperson were often called upon by his community. He presided over many meetings, and represented the community at treaty meetings and court cases. Willie’s booming melodic voice was familiar to the Coast Salish people as he officiated at events for over thirty years on the Island and on the Mainland. He shares some of his experiences in his words here. Willie was also known as a talented storyteller who knew many stories of different kinds.

The tellings we include here were filmed in 1998 at Stz’uminus. Thank you to Chris Bouris for filming , Sean Milliken for post-production, and Donna Gerdts for titles. Transcription and translation by Donna Gerdts and Theresa Thorne.