Squamish Nation Language Nest finds permanent home in schoolhouse

The Squamish Nation Language Nest Program has found a new home in a 112-year-old schoolhouse now called ta tsíptspi7lhḵn (“voices of the nest” in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim). The building was moved across the Burrard Inlet after being marked for demolition to make way for an elementary school. It will provide a permanent home for the immersive early education program, which teaches babies and toddlers the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim language. “As soon as we stepped foot in this building, it felt like home,” said head teacher Kaiya Williams, who described how the schoolhouse is designed so that parents and families can join the programming and spend time sitting or eating with their children. Squamish Hereditary Chief Xalek/Sekyu Siyam Ian Campbell said the original building did not reflect Indigenous epistemologies, but that the building’s transformation is an example of reconciliation. “It’s how do we draw forward more collaboration and a common sort of shared value on purpose, and that’s really about our children,” said Campbell.