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The Squamish Language Centre Project | Kwi Awt Stelmexw

A Centre for the Squamish Language

Join our campaign for a flexible, accessible, dedicated language facility.

*Artist concept rendering only; not final design.

A bold vision for future generations

For nearly 40 years, the language of the Squamish Peoples has been waking up and coming back. It’s an integral part of our cultural identity and social cohesion that makes our people who we are.

Now, we’re seeking support for the development of a Centre for the Squamish Language to build on this success.

Latest News & Events

2017 Gala Fundraiser

We raised $50,000 towards the development of a Centre for the Squamish Language. We thank our major event partners for their support for this event: CanRuss Medical Services, HMCA, Vancity Credit Union, BCGEU, and Simon Fraser University.

Crowdfunding Campaign

We’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to support this initiative. Funds raised will go towards construction, operations, and the development of an endowment fund for the Squamish Language.

Learn more here.

2017 Squamish Language Karaoke Winner

Swo-wo Billy is a Leo Award winning actor, storyteller, and recent graduate of the SFU Squamish Language Proficiency Program. At the 2017 We Speak! Fundraising Gala, Swo-wo Billy won the $1,200 cash prize for his Squamish Language rendition of "The Lions Sleeps Tonight".


Let us tell you a story

A dedicate space for the language

We need a dedicated space for the Squamish Language. The Squamish Nation community has many beautiful facilities such as the Chief Joe Mathias Centre, Xwmelch’stn Little-Ones School, Elders Centre, Youth Centre, and Trades Training Centre.

Research tells us that a critical component of reversing the decline of endangered languages is physical spaces dedicated to the exclusive or habitual use of the language. Without a space, efforts will only be band-aid solutions to the core problem. Our language needs a place where we can guarantee regular access, sustained programming, and space to gather language speakers.

The next steps

The plan for a Centre for the Squamish Language is in the very early stages. We recently raised $50,000 to begin the work of this project through a feasibility study, fund development strategy plan, and stakeholder engagement. As we move forward we’ll look forward to hosting design charettes, requesting design services, and exploring endowment fund development to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.

Our immediate needs for this project are:

  • Corporate, philanthropic, and other partners to support the construction of the centre.
  • Funds to hire a fund development director and donor research specialist.
  • Community and leadership support for the Squamish Language.
Active language learning

We envision a Centre for the Squamish Language existing to support the language programming needs of the Squamish Nation community. Currently, a number of programs exist that could be hosted in the centre like the full-time adult immersion program hosted in partnership with Simon Fraser University. If built, we imagine hosting immersion camps on weekends four times per year, afterschool language & culture camps for children and youth, evening classes for elders, parents, and community members, and potentially an immersion daycare or language nest.

We see a community space filled with a sharing space, two state-of-the-art classrooms, a dining hall, a kitchen, and storage space. However, the list of amenities may grow as we engage stakeholders and community participants and we seek input from those who wish to be involved!

Next Steps


Conduct Feasibility Study

Kwi Awt Stelmexw will work with a consultant on a feasibility study for the proposed centre.  The goal of the study will be to give an assessment of the practicality of a proposed project. We’ll look at possible locations for the centre, gaps and opportunities, and challenge any assumptions we have going into this project.

Fundraising Strategy Plan

Good capital fundraising a good fund development plan to identify the opportunities for success. Kwi Awt Stelmexw will work with a fundraising consultant to develop this plan and help us hire a Fund Development Director to lead this project in reaching out to partners and major donors. We welcome folks interested in making a major gift to this project to contact us.

Community Engagement

Community and Culture are at the core. As we begin develops plans for the language centre, we’ll look to our community for guidance and input. In fall 2017, Kwi Awt Stelmexw will invite community members to join a Language Centre Planning Committee, lead by our Board of Directors, who will assist in the physical design, and programming design of this future building.

Looking for ways to help?

Sponsor the language centre with a major gift.

Kwi Awt Stelmexw is fundraising to build a Centre for the Squamish Language.

Choose your gift amount!

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