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Blog: Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Introduction of Halq’emeylem

William A. Fraser Middle students in grades 6,7 and 8 have been working hard to learn their language. This year students from the Sumas community were given the option of attending Halq’emeylem classes instead of French. The program was introduced to ensure the language can be passed on to the next generation. Seven brave students took the challenge and joined. Grade 6/7 students came together once weekly starting in September and Grade 8 students attended twice weekly. Christine Seymour, the language teacher at Yale committed to come over weekly to practice written and oral language skills with our students. This partnership with Yale enables students to continue through high school and get language credits towards graduation. The students have participated enthusiastically and have attended several Halq’emeylem competitions in the Fraser Valley. They are bringing back the language of the Sto:lo people to their community.

A few things students mentioned were:

“It’s a good learning experience.” 
“It’s a privilege to bring back the language,”
“I just like learning my language,”
“It’s good because there is only one speaker left.”

This is our third year of having Halq’emeylem at our school but the first in which it was delivered during class time. Students were amazed that they could communicate in a new language thought to be dying. Thank you to Ms. Riggs and Ms. Seymour for helping to deliver the new curriculum in such an exciting way. We put our hands in the air to Mrs. MacDonald for supporting our school and enabling us to deliver this program

Vice-Principal, W.A. Fraser Middle School