The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) has released the third volume of Songs From Our Nations, a compilation of twelve traditional songs recorded by SLCC Ambassadors. Building on the success of Songs From Our Nations Volumes 1 and 2, this project fostered Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim (Squamish language) and Ucwalmícwts (Lil’wat language) reclamation efforts, further connecting Ambassadors to their cultures.
The objective of this project was to record traditional songs in Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim and Ucwalmícwts while fostering and celebrating cultural practices through storytelling, singing and drumming. While a compilation of songs was this project’s destiny, the journey enlightened Ambassadors about the healing that music can provide.
Project mentors from both nations lead the singers and drummers in honing their techniques to maintain proper etiquette and format of each song. In the process, Ambassadors learnt more about their respective languages and the spiritual connection these songs have to their cultures.
Songs From Our Nations Volume 3 was co-produced by Kúkwpi7 Gélpcal Chief Ashley Joseph of the Lil’wat Nation, and Chiaxst’n Wesley Nahanee, of the Squamish Nation. We give thanks to them and to the knowledge keepers who supported this project from both Nations. Gratefully, we acknowledge the permission to sing and record these songs that have been given to us by each song’s keeper (song keepers can vary: they can be a specific person, family, or nation).
“Knowing that every song has a journey behind it that carries good medicine…I can never hold one song above any other. They are all gifted by Our Creator for the well being of the people. They are all equally necessary for the spirit of our precious community. I would like to share the personal connection to our rich oral tradition. This project and all the songs give us an opportunity to have language and songs passed to the next. It will be exciting to have more of our people learn the language based songs and have them sung by even more people in the village. Drums and songs have great ability to bring everyone together.”
Kúkwpi7 Gélpcal Chief Ashley Joseph
“The thing I enjoyed the most about this project was that it was our youth doing the drumming and singing. All during the process I could only imagine how big the smiles of the Ancestors were as they looked over them during the rehearsals. We had families around with their children and the sparkle in their eyes made me think that must be how the Ancestors smiles look, all so bright and shining. These Squamish songs are what some people may say are new but our teachings are that the songs have always been there, it is up to us to listen with our hearts and not only our ears – OUR YOUTH ARE LISTENING!”
Chiaxst’n Wesley Nahanee
At the SLCC, we start each day with two songs, one from each Nation, during our morning circle.. While our venue is closed and our staff stay home during this pandemic, this CD has brought unsurmountable joy as a reminder of what the sounds of the SLCC – a place we consider our second home.
Now available from the SLCC: https://shop.slcc.ca/shop/cd-songs-from-our-nations-volume-3/ 🙂