Squamish Language Certificate Program

2019-2020 Proficiency Certificate

8 Months-Long | Vancouver, BC | Starts Sept 7, 2019

Two Term Program (Fall & Spring)

The program takes place over two terms at Simon Fraser University and is lead by instructors proficient in the Squamish Language.

Deadline is March 28, 2019

Kwi Awt Stelmexw recruits applicants to submit to SFU. If 15-18 students are approved, the program moves forward. Approved applicants will be required to submit additional information.

Apply Now

To Become A Speaker

No previous experience required.

What Is It?


Kwi Awt Stelmexw has partnered with Simon Fraser University to offer the Squamish Language Proficiency Certificate Program. This program involves 1,000+ hours of language immersion for adult 2nd language learners of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim, the Squamish Language. It is broken into two stages: year one is 900 hours of immersion instruction and year two is another 500 hours of immersion.

Application Deadline: March 28th, 2019 at 11:59am.

Program Begins: September 7th, 2019

Cost: Approximately $6,156

We strongly encourage participants to apply for funding through their First Nation, as well as other scholarships and bursaries, to help cover the cost of the program.

How To Apply?

What Makes This Unique

Join us on a learning journey while immersing yourself in the Squamish language, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim. You will leave this program with the ability to speak and understand Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim. This certificate provides students with the skills to engage confidently in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh contexts. This certificate will develop Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language skills to an intermediate level by focusing on sx̱wex̱wiy̓ám, slúlum, and practical conversation for the emergent speaker.

Graduates will be able to: listen to and appreciate the rhythm, nuances, and enunciation of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh; demonstrate listening, reading, oral, and literacy skills in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh to an intermediate level; understand the grammar and sentence structures of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language; understand the nexwníw of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Stélmexw, and pursue an area of interest. Do you want to make a meaningful commitment to your Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language development? Go well past the basics and focus on your grammar and conversational ability. Our fun, relaxed, inclusive learning environment will help you confidently function in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim from day to day. Tim̓á tkwétsi!!


The Squamish Language Proficiency Certificate program is offered through the First Nations Language Proficiency Certificate Program at SFU with a focus on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim. As an SFU certificate with units transferable to an undergraduate degree, these are the SFU courses you will take as part of the program:

First Term

FNLG 130 – Practical Phonetics for First Nations Languages (14 Weeks)

FNLG 133 – Introduction to First Nations Language I (7 Weeks)

FNLG 134 – Introduction to First Nations Language II (7 Weeks)

FNLG 158 – First Nations Language Immersion I (7 Weeks)

Second Term

FNLG 335 – Topics in First Nations Language I (14 Weeks)

FNLG 258 – First Nations Language Immersion II (14 Weeks)

FNLG 233 – Description and Analysis of a First Nations Language I (7 Weeks)

FNLG 234 – Description and Analysis of a First Nations Language II (7 Weeks)

FNLG 200 – Introduction to Grammar in a First Nations Language (14 Weeks)


Q: Do I have to be Squamish to take this program?

Priority selection will be given to those with Squamish ancestry. Applicants do not need to be members of the Squamish Nation to apply.

Q: Do the credits I receive from this program count towards something?

Yes. The 27 units/credits you receive by completing this certificate can be used towards an undergraduate degree program at SFU, or transferred to another university.

Q: What are you looking for in an applicant?

We’re really looking to see who will succeed in this program. This is not a program for everybody. We have noticed in previous years that the learners who are the most successful are those who see this as an opportunity to incorporate the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language into their lives, not just an educational exercise. We want to see people demonstrate passion and commitment; the ones who will go the extra mile to use the language every chance they get with every person they get a chance to speak with. Applicants must show a commitment to Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim. The applicant must show that they understand the objectives of the program and that they are willing to commit to full-time language study for the full duration of the program. Priority will be given to those under the age of 40, although exceptions will be made in special circumstances. Note that participants apply to both Kwi Awt Stelmexw and Simon Fraser University, and their participation is subject to the admissions requirements for both institutions.

Q: How are applicants selected?

All applications will be reviewed by a 3-4 member panel of language instructors. The panel will review the applicants based on their merits demonstrated through their application. Up to eighteen (18) spots are available, and some may be turned down and asked to re-apply next year.

Q: When will I know If I have been accepted or not?

Within 5 days.

Q: People tell me learning Squamish won’t help me get a job. What should I tell them about why this program is important?

The world of the Squamish Language is changing. You will find gaining excellent Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language skills will become a major asset to the Squamish Nation community as well as other First Nations communities. Many jobs that are not directly language positions will recognize a person’s experience and knowledge of the language as a huge asset.

Q: What kinds of students are you looking for?

Are you a person who lives our people’s culture as a way of life? Or are you a person who never grew up with a cultural upbringing but really wish you had one? We are looking for people who see this as more than a program but as a movement to change our people. We want people who are ready and willing to do what it takes. This means showing up on time every day. It means using the language every chance you get. It means pushing yourself into unexpected places. It means being ready to “play” at 100% every day. Passion and commitment are the words we use but what we really want to see is are you more fuel to the fire of our language revival?

Q: How do I apply?

Please fill out our application form here.