WHAT IS KWI AWT STELMEXW?

Who We Are

Kwi Awt Stelmexw is a not-for-profit Sḵwx̱wú7mesh 1 organization, (by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, for Sḵwx̱wú7mesh). Kwi Awt Stelmexw is an arts & education organization. It is based on sx̱enx̱en 2 to our temíx̱wyiḵw 3 and our smén̓hem 4 and expressed through a skilled team of staff, board members, and ally advisory board to our sts’its’áp’ 5. Our work is to deliver Kwi Awt Stelmexw’s objective of a society of culturally and artistically fluent Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. The Kwi Awt Stelmexw s7eḵw’í7tel 6 are passionate about building a vibrant community today and for our smén̓hem.

Kwi Awt Stelmexw was formed in early 2015 to be a leader in the nation rebuilding efforts of the Squamish Peoples. After a century of cultural genocide policies by the Canadian government, the Squamish Peoples are  resilient with strong ties to our cultural values and dreams for our future.

The Squamish Peoples are the families and communities who are descendants of the original inhabitants of the Squamish Peoples’ territory. Our peoples’ territory includes present day Vancouver, Howe Sound, Squamish Valley, and Whistler. We live in nine communities spread along the Squamish River and Burrard Inlet. We are historically speakers of the Squamish Language — called Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim by speakers. Our blood ties connect us to our close and distant relations that make up the Squamish Peoples.

Kwi Awt Stelmexw is a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh phrase that can be interpreted as “the last people” or “the coming after people”. These in turn have been translated to mean “ancestors” or “future generations”. We took this name as a reminder that we are the ancestors to those unborn children to come.

Through partnership, support, and a strong mandate, Kwi Awt Stelmexw exists to “strengthen all aspects of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh heritage, language, culture, and art”. We first and foremost serve the interests and desires of our Squamish Peoples, but also aim to build bridges with those who share our values.

We believe there is work to be done to help rebuild and grow the artistic, cultural, and linguistic dreams of our peoples. We hope to play one part of that asnch’ú7mut (one piece).

What We Do

Kwi Awt Stelmexw actively provides programs and initiatives to strengthen Sḵwx̱wú7mesh artistic, cultural, language, and heritage practices. Through education programs and public events, we provide opportunities for our peoples to engage with their Sḵwx̱wú7mesh heritage, and for all people to learn about and from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh culture. Explore our Arts, Education, and Resources sections to learn more.

Notes:

  1. means Squamish
  2. means legs; genealogy
  3. means ancestors; great great great great grandparents
  4. means descendants; future generations
  5. means work
  6. means siblings of the same generation; family