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What Was Said to Me

The Life of Sti'tum'atul'wut, a Cowichan Woman
Paperback Book
Royal BC Museum
June, 2021
$24.95 CAD
Publisher’s Description: 

A narrative of resistance and resilience spanning seven decades in the life of a tireless advocate for Indigenous language preservation.

Life histories are a form of contemporary social history and convey important messages about identity, cosmology, social behaviour and one's place in the world. This first-person oral historythe first of its kind ever published by the Royal BC Museumdocuments a period of profound social change through the lens of Sti'tum'atul'wutalso known as Mrs. Ruby Petera Cowichan elder who made it her life's work to share and safeguard the ancient language of her people: Hul'q'umi'num'.

Over seven decades, Sti'tum'atul'wut mentored hundreds of students and teachers and helped thousands of people to develop a basic knowledge of the Hul'q'umi'num' language. She contributed to dictionaries and grammars, and helped assemble a valuable corpus of stories, sound and video fileswith more than 10,000 pages of texts from Hul'q'umi'num' speakersthat has been described as "a treasure of linguistic and cultural knowledge." Without her passion, commitment and expertise, this rich legacy of material would not exist for future generations.

In 1997 Vancouver Island University anthropologist Helene Demers recorded Sti'tum'atul'wut's life stories over nine sessions. The result is rich with family and cultural historya compelling narrative of resistance and resilience that promises to help shape progressive social policy for generations to follow.

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