hwsteli hwulmuhw – Cowichan Valley Museum Exhibit: Coast Salish Canoe Pullers welcome

The following is a welcome message to those visiting the “tthu hwsteli hwulmuhw | Coast Salish Canoe Pullers” installation at the Cowichan Valley Museum in Duncan, BC. View this page to find out more about the exhibit.

yath uwq’apthut tthu hwstey kws i’shul’s t’ut’a’thut.

Canoe paddlers always train together.

Welcome on board our canoe! Our project is designed for people who would like to improve their Hul’q’umi’num’ language skills while learning about the language as it goes along with canoe culture. Whether you are a coach, a canoe puller, a fan, or even a complete stranger to our Coast Salish territory, we hope you will find something here that will interest and inform you. Please enter with respect and appreciation for the knowledge of our Elders that is shared here. We look forward to taking this journey with you!

We are island nations, salt water people. Our villages from the beginning of time have been strategically located along the seashore, allowing us to enjoy the gifts of the Salish Sea. Our intimate relationship with the water could not have been realized without the help of the sacred canoe.


nanulh uwtl’i’st-hwus tthuwt’at mustimuhw tthu snuhwulh.

Canoes were very important to people of times past.


We Coast Salish People have always gathered to celebrate our culture. In the winter, we gather in our longhouses, and in the summer, we gather at the canoe races. Training for these races is an authentic learning experience that emphasizes respect, humility, and interdependence. Throughout the summer months, the canoe connects our communities from the youngest to the oldest and anchors us in our language and culture.


mukw untsu ni shhwunums kwthu iwatul hwsushushul teyuwulh.

The paddlers travel each week to different locations for the canoe races.

The Hul’q’umi’num’ language is very different from English, and so it might be challenging to get going in it, especially at first. But, just as it is with canoe pulling, practicing every day builds a strong mind. Learning our language requires motivation, endurance, perseverance, and much effort. But once you have mastered the basics, then the language starts to unfold and a door opens to the world of the Coast Salish way of being.


tthu hay ul’ ’elihws’ush’ushulinilh hay ’ul’ ’eli


Good paddlers always have good, strong thoughts.

This canoe was put in the water by our dedicated team of language speakers, teachers, and researchers, young and old.

hay tseep q’u.