Coordinator: Carrie Gillon

Paháyikwup (the Language Commission) is the official Language Authority for Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw. Its main role is to assist in the revitalization of highly proficient and fluent speakers of Skwxwú7mesh sníchim (Squamish language). It also oversees the development and implementation of the Official Language Strategy, approves official additions to the Skwxwú7mesh sníchim dictionary, and approves guidelines, exams, and certified examiners for oral proficiency, translator, and teacher certification.

In addition, Paháyikwup provides guidance on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim for creating new names for buildings, streets, organizations, etc. All of the Commission’s work is guided by a Terms of Reference and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim Policy, which was approved in 2021.

Paháyikwup consists of nine Commissioners who were nominated by Members and approved by Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw (Council) in tem tsá7tsḵay̓ (April) 2022. They started their new roles in tem ḵw’élemexw (July) 2022, with their term ending in 2026. Paháyikwup meets bimonthly.


Myia Antone (she/her) is a proud youth from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), with Ukrainian and Norwegian roots. Growing up in Squamish and studying Environment and Sustainability, she explored and loved taking care of the land that her ancestors have occupied since time immemorial. She is currently a teacher for the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim (Squamish language) and is passionate about ethnobotany and land-based education. She is involved in many organizations connecting Indigenous youth, women and nonbinary folks to the land including Indigenous Women Outdoors, Indigenous Life Sport Academy, and Sḵwalwen Botanicals.

Chen̓áx̱wtn (Swu7wu) Billy is a descendant of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Lil̓wát peoples, He is from a small village named Wíw̓ḵ’em, which is in the town of Squamish along the bank of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh River. He has had the honour of being an instructor in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Language Immersion Certificate and Diploma programs offered through Simon Fraser University between 2018-2022.

Swu7wu has had a passion to learn and teach Indigenous language and culture his whole life and he dreams of a day that the language and culture will be easily accessible and abundant for his smén̓hem (descendants), so that they will not have to struggle or fight to learn, which is their inherent right.

Vanessa Campbell kwi n sna… my name is Vanessa. I have worked with the Squamish language since 1972. In early childcare programs like day care, kindergarten on through to college-aged learners, I have been privileged to share and learn through the words and teachings of my Elders.

Through the language you can begin to see where, how and why the daily life for those long past was defined by interactions with the surrounding environment… just as it defines our daily lives!

Ta néwyap síiyam̓, síiyay̓, iy en eḵw’í7tel
Ents Victoria Fraser, Metúliya kwi n niná7min. Tiná7 chan tl’a Snanáymexw úxwumixw iy Xwemélch’stn ímen. Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim nexws7usáyelh chen iy chen ts’its’áp’ na7 ta na wa ns7éyx̱nitm ta snew̓íyelh. Siyamultun, Bailey Fraser iy Calqalmiat, Lillian Jones kwi snaswit ten elhtách. Stisiya, Phyllis Williams iy Calqalmit, John Jones iy Tsiyaltenaat, Avis Sinclair (nee Guss) iy X̱wux̱wḵinx̱en-t, Dale Fraser kwis snaswit en sélsi7l. An wanáxws nsḵwálwen kwins wé7u ta sts’its’áp’s lhen tsepiyíḵw’ Kwítelut-t. Men wé7u kwis níchim ta sníchimcht.

To you all, my respected leaders, friends, and relatives,
I am Victoria Fraser, Metúliya is my nickname. I come from Nanaimo and the village of Capilano. I have been a Squamish Language teacher in Ta na wa Ns7éyx̱nitm ta Snew̓íyelh (Language and Cultural Affairs Department) since August 2018.
My parents are Siyamulwut Bailey Fraser and Calqalmiat Lillian Jones. My grandparents are Stisiya Phyllis Williams, and Calqalmit John Jones, Tsiyaltenaat Avis Sinclair (nee Guss), and late X̱wux̱wḵinx̱n-t Dale Fraser.

My language journey began in 2016 at Simon Fraser University in the first cohort of Squamish Language Proficiency. Until then I knew a few hulq’umin’um’ words that my family used at home. In August of 2017 I was hired as the Squamish Language trainee/ assistant. In my current role as a Squamish Language teacher, I have worked with all age brackets from children and youth in elementary and high schools in SD #44, and now adults in the Squamish Language proficiency programs with SFU. I have obtained a certificate and diploma in First Nations Language Proficiency from SFU and am currently enrolled in the Masters of Linguistics in Indigenous Languages program. I also hold a Provincial Instructors Diploma from Vancouver Community College.

It is an honour to continue the good work of my late great-great grandmother Ḵwítelut-t, Lena Jacobs. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful for this lifelong journey of breathing life into our language.
U síiy̓am̓

s7atsáliya (Charlene George) comes from the sḵwx̱wú7mesh and səlilwətaɬ nations. Her parents are Sam George Jr. and Kim Hill, her paternal grandparents are Sam George Sr., and the late Wanda Bolton (Thomas). She is honoured to be a speaker of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim (Squamish language) and is lucky to work amongst a team of brilliant people. She is employed by the Sníchim Foundation and is currently one of the instructors for SFU’s full time Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language proficiency program. She is also currently working towards her Masters in Indigenous Languages and Linguistics.

s7atsáliya is grateful every day to all her mentors/teachers in their respective backgrounds, including weaving, language, and other aspects of our cultural lifestyle. She is also grateful to all the learners of the language who she has had the privilege to engage with. Her dream is to see and hear our communities thrive with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh speakers of all ages and backgrounds. The incorporation of our art, language, and ways of being into our everyday lives, are important not only to us, but to our ancestors, and the future generations to come.

Ta néwyap, síiỳaḿ iy síiyaỳ iy ten s7ekw’í7tel,
Nilh ta ents, Setálten kwi en kweshámin iy Norman Guerrero Jr. kwi en sna. Tiná7 chen tl’a Xwemélch’stn Úxwumixw. Skwxwú7mesh sníchim nexws7usáyelh chen iy sts’its’áp’ chen na7 ta na wa ns7éyxnitm ta sneẁíyelh. Norman Guerrero Sr. iy kwiyámiya – Arlene Guerrero (nee Baker) kwi snaswit en elhtách, Rhoda Guerrero iy Freddy Baker iy kwiyámiya-t Margo Baker (nee Rice-Wyse) kwi snaswit en selsí7l-t.

To you all, my respected leaders, friends, and relatives,
My ancestral name is Setálten and my English name is Norman Guerrero Jr. and I come from the village of Xwemélch’stn (Capilano Reserve). I am a Squamish Language teacher in Ta na wa ns7éyxnitm ta sneẁíyelh (Language and Cultural Affairs Department). My parents are Norman Guerrero Sr. and kwiyámiya – Arlene Guerrero (nee Baker), my late grandparents were Rhoda Guerrero, Freddy Baker, and kwiyámiya-t Margo Baker (nee Rice-Wyse).

I have been working for the Squamish Nation for over 20 years now. In my current role as a Squamish Language teacher, I have worked with all age brackets from children & youth in elementary and high schools in SD #44, and now adults in the Squamish Language proficiency program at SFU. I was also fortunate to have worked closely with our late Squamish Language Elder’s Advisory Group – ta na wa nexwníẁen ta a ímats “Teachings for your grandchildren.” I am a lifelong language learner and have been fortunate to be immersed in our language since pre-school, all through elementary and high school, and now at the post-secondary level.

I have obtained a certificate in Squamish Language and Culture from Capilano University, a diploma in Squamish Language proficiency from Simon Fraser University and I am currently enrolled at Simon Fraser University in the Graduate Certificate/ Masters in Linguistics in an Indigenous Language program. I also hold a certificate in Business Fundamentals from Capilano University and a Provincial Instructor’s Diploma from Vancouver Community College. I am forever grateful for all those that have shared and helped me to be where I am today. I really enjoy the work that I do in sharing our language, culture, and history with our people just as my teachers have shared with me.

In my time away from the office, I enjoy spending my time with my family and friends, travelling the world, experiencing new cultures, spending time on the land, and wool and cedar weaving.

Tiná7 tkwa Wiwiḵ’em ta Peter (Peter comes from a Squamish Nation village, Wiwiḵ’em, near Brackendale, B.C.). Galułi lax̱ Tsax̱is (he is also from the Kwaguł village of Tsax̱is, Fort Rupert, B.C.). His MA thesis was on subordinate clauses in the Sḵwx̱wu7mesh snichim (the Squamish language). His Ph.D. dissertation was on the syntax and semantics of agent control constructions in Sḵwx̱wu7mesh.

Peter worked for over 25 years at the Squamish Nation in language revitalization of the Sḵwx̱wu7mesh snichim, the language of his father’s side of his family. He also conducts research on Kwak’wala, the language of his mother’s side of his family. He taught at the University of Victoria.

At the Squamish Nation, he was co-applicant for SSHRC Aboriginal Research grant. He was also the editor-in-chief for the Sḵwx̱wu7mesh Snichim-Xweliten Snichim Sḵexwts (Squamish-English Dictionary). At the University of Victoria, he was co-investigator on a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant with Dr. Onowa McIvor. They investigated adult language learners in the Mentor-Apprentice Program (MAP) and other MAP-like programs in B.C. He is currently a co-principal investigator with Dr. McIvor on a 6-year SSHRC Partnership Grant. With their partners from 9 First Nations communities across Canada, they are investigating the role of adult learners of their Indigenous languages.

My name is Ray Natraoro, my ancestral name is Ses siyám. I am an Indigenous person from the Northern Tutchone and Squamish First Nations. I was raised immersed in Squamish language and culture. There are two areas of my life which have remained a constant, and these are the Squamish language and art.

I was raised by my grandparents, and I was mentored and guided to live as a traditional man. At the age of five, I had the first blade put in my hand by my great grandfather Kápulk-t Andy Natrall, and I began my journey as a traditional carver. My training eventually came to include both Northern Tutchone and Squamish Coast Salish styles of art. Throughout my career as an artist I have had the great pleasure of creating small and large-scale art pieces including welcome figures; carved house posts for traditional longhouses; masks, both ceremonial and decorative; cedar dugout canoes; bentwood boxes; and metal two- and three-dimensional sculptures. In addition, I was the first Squamish man in over 200 years to steam bend and carve mountain goat horn bracelets which in the past were worn by people of high nobility.

I grew up in canoe culture. I’m a seventh-generation traditional cedar dugout canoe builder. I’ve carved 43 cedar dugout canoes in my lifetime and of the seven Squamish styles of canoe, I have carved six. I have had the great pleasure and honor to revive this ancient art in several Indigenous communities in which the tradition had been lost.

I have mentored many apprentices in the arts and canoe building, some of which have become successful artists themselves.

I grew up listening to my elders speak the Squamish language and at the age of 13 I began my journey learning and teaching the critically endangered language. By 16 years old, I was teaching younger children in the school system. In 1999, I assisted elders in creating a Squamish language dictionary.
I remain a part of the strong revitalization efforts, donating funds for Squamish language immersion programs. I recently graduated with a university diploma in Squamish immersion.

In addition to my cultural endeavors, I have a diploma in Occupational Health and Safety. I hold several certificates including Heavy Equipment Operation, Project Management. I own partnerships in multiple construction business.

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