ʔanaḥʔis Huksyuu ʔuḥʔiš qiickʷiiʔaƛʔi č̓apac
(Nuu-Chah-Nulth / Huu-ay-aht Translation)

Written by Veselin Jungic & Mark MacLean 
Illustrated by Simon Roy 
Huu-ay-aht Translation by Benson Nookemis from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nation

Small Number and the Old Canoe – Huu-ay-aht

In Small Number and the Old Canoe, mathematics is present throughout the story with the hope that this experience will make at least some members of our young audience, with the moderator’s help, recognize more mathematics around them in their everyday lives. Using terms like smooth, shape, oval, and surface, and mathematical phraseology like It must be at least a hundred years old, the artist skillfully presents reflection (symmetry) of trees in water, and so on. The idea behind this approach is to give the moderator a few openings to introduce or emphasize various mathematical objects, concepts and terminology. The short film is a little math suspense story and our question is related only to one part of it. The aim of the question is to lead to an introduction at an intuitive level of the concept of a function and the essence of the principle of inclusion-exclusion as a counting technique. The authors would also like to give their audience an opportunity to appreciate that in order to understand a math question, one often needs to read (or in this case, watch) a problem more than once.

Story Transcript: English and Huu-ay-aht

Benson Nookemis recorded the Nuuchahnulth Version of the story himself on a dictaphone cassette recorder and submitted the tape to the Mathcatcher Team. The story was transcribed by Henry Kammler with the assistance of students of the Nuuchahnulth language at U of Munich: Merlin Detschey, Julia Haslinger, Susanne Mors, Lara Stephan, and Filip Wissert from Institut für Ethnologie, München, Germany. 

 

ʔanaḥʔis Huksyuu ʔuḥʔiš qiickʷiiʔaƛʔi č̓apac.

Small Number and the Old Canoe

ʔukłaa ʔanaḥʔis Huksyuu suč̓aqʔičḥʔaƛ meʔiƛqac. Wiwip̓ałc̓a saač̓ink. ʔukčiqƛ̓as natnaniqsak. Wiiy̓aʔał ʔuušwaa ʔani wiwip̓ałc̓a saač̓ink meʔiƛqacʔi. Naniiqsu ʔusimʔaƛ ḥasiik ʔuukʷiił ƛ̓ax̣aas ʔinksy̓iqḥtin. "ʔusimʔaƛeʔic", waaʔaƛ naniiqsu, "pisatukquuk hitaasḥ ʔuupaałḥ ʔuksčaʕinm̓inḥukʔitqak. ʔuuʔuuqukma ƛ̓upaa. ƛ̓up̓iičḥšiʔaƛ.” Kamitqšiʔaƛʔał meʔiƛqacm̓inḥʔi. Hitinqsaƛ ƛawaa č̓aʔakʔi hinas. T̓apatšiʔaƛʔał qʷaaʔapʔaaqƛuusiʔał pisatuk. ʔiiḥʔii Mitxyuu ʔukłaa meʔiƛqac: "ʔun̓aaḥcuumin m̓uksy̓i ƛ̓aaskaačištuułʔapqun tuuxtuuxʷap hiłcpiičiƛḥčik̓ap yaqʔaaqƛuusin sayeeʔiyaʔak." T̓apatšiʔaƛʔał meʔiƛqacm̓inḥʔi ʔani ʔusimʔaaqƛ ƛułʔii ƛułaał m̓uksy̓iʔi. ʔun̓aaḥšiʔaƛʔał. 

 

ʔanaḥʔisʔi Huksyuu yaacšiʔaƛ yee sayeeʔii ʔun̓aaḥ ƛ̓askaałquu m̓uksy̓iʔi. Hisiiʔik̓ʷaqstinuʔaƛ ʕaqmaptʔi y̓aaq. Waḥyaʕasʔaƛweʔin caqyaqasʔaƛ č̓apac ʔuukʷił hiy̓aaqsteʔi huptaas. Č̓an̓iiʔaƛ ʔani y̓aaqqaa ʕaqmaptʔi. ƛakisšiʔaƛ, ƛ̓uḥsaat̓anuʔaƛ ʔani ʔuusuqta. N̓an̓aan̓ičšiʔaƛ yaałʔii č̓apacʔi. Qiiʔisckʷaƛ hił huptis ʔuusaaḥi y̓aaqʔii ʕaqmapt. ƛakisšiʔaƛ t̓aast̓aasaƛ yaa ʔani ʔuusuqta t̓uḥc̓iti. N̓an̓aan̓ičšiʔaƛ č̓apacʔi ʔatquu yaaʔak̓aƛ̓at t̓uḥc̓iti. N̓iƛkʷaʕaqstuʔaƛ, haaʕinčiʔaƛ yaaqsčaʕinʔitq. Kamitquk̓ʷaƛʔał hinin meʔiƛqacm̓inḥʔi. 

 

N̓ačuʔałʔał yaqii qʷayiipʔitq. ƛ̓ikaasiʔaƛ č̓apacʔi ʔani ƛułaał ƛułaał. "Qiickʷiʔaƛma ʔaḥkuu hił," waaʔaƛʔał. ʔiiḥmaa č̓apacʔi. "Qum̓istay̓akituusi ʔaḥkuuʔi?" Waaʔaƛʔał ʔiiḥʔii Mitxyuu ʔukłeeʔi: "Qum̓aaqʔičḥaƛuusi qʷiyimtiiʔał ʔaḥkuu ʔuukʷiił?" T̓apatšiʔaƛʔał. Hayaap̓ałšiʔaƛʔał ʔani pipisatukʷitʔał. Qiičiƛšiʔaƛʔał ʔuumac̓uk yaa č̓apacʔi, yaqckʷiiwuusi ʔuuḥw̓ał. 

 

ʔiiḥʔii Nuutxyuu ʔukłaa ḥiiqšiʔaƛ̓atuk ʔuʕaqstuʔaƛ, t̓aač̓a ʔuḥʔaƛuk ḥiiqšiʔaƛ. "Haw̓iiqƛaḥ," waaʔaƛ. "ʔusimʔaƛin haw̓aasqun," waaʔaƛ y̓uuqʷaa ḥaaw̓iiḥaƛʔi, meʔiƛqacm̓inḥʔi. Y̓uuqʷaaʔaƛ haw̓iiqstuƛm̓inḥʔaƛ. Kamitqšiʔaƛʔał huʔacačiʔaƛ hihiy̓atḥʔitq. 

 

ʔanaḥʔisʔi Huksyuu wałšiʔaƛ kamitquk̓ʷaƛ hiłukʔitq naniiqsu ʔuukʷiił ḥumiisḥtin ƛax̣aas. Haaʕinʔap̓aƛ yaa meʔiƛqacʔi "nee neenʔi," naniiqsakʔi ʔuukʷiłʔaƛ. N̓ašiʔaƛ naniiqsu, n̓aačapuʔaƛ yaa. "ʔaqisʔaƛḥakƛa," waaʔaƛ. "Yanuuqʷiʔaƛ ʔaḥn̓ii hiłsaat̓akʔitqak." "ʔaqiskʷačiʔaƛḥakƛa," waaʔaƛ̓at ʔaaʔaatuu. Hayaap̓ałšiʔaƛ ʔani caqaasit yaa. ʔiiqḥšiʔaƛ naniiqsakʔi ʔani ʔuuy̓ip č̓apac. "Qiiʔisckʷaƛma hiis yee hitinqisʔi. Suč̓iiqqʔičḥmatakckʷaƛ hił," waaʔaƛ t̓apatšiƛ. 

 

ƛ̓iixšiʔaƛ yaa naniiqsu. "Ḥamat̓amaḥ ʔaḥn̓iiʔi č̓apacʔi," waaʔaƛ. "ʔuupimtma ʔaḥn̓ii c̓aaxuk č̓apacʔi ʔaḥkuu hiy̓atḥqin. ʔuḥitma ʔuukʷiił yaqukʷitiis n̓uw̓iiqsu ʔaḥʔaaʔaƛ ʔaƛa qałaatik qałaatikukʔi," waaʔaƛ yaa naniiqsuʔi. "Ḥačatakukʷitma yaqukʷitiis naniiqsu huḥtakm̓inḥ ʔuukʷiił č̓apac, č̓iin̓uł ʔuukʷiił. N̓aacsaḥak yaa qacc̓eʔi č̓iin̓uł hił ʔiiḥʔii maʔas hiiłsʔatuʔas? ʔuḥitmaʔał ʔuukʷiił yaqukʷitiis neʔiiqsum̓inḥuksi." 

 

Tuupšiʔaƛʔitq meʔiƛqacʔi wiky̓uuʔitq weʔičuƛ t̓aat̓aapatšiʔaƛ. "Y̓uuqʷaamiḥsamaḥ ʔusiikquus č̓apac ʔaḥʔaaʔaƛ č̓iin̓uł qʷaa qʷackʷiiʔitq yaqwiimit. ʔaʔaatuuʔaaqƛaḥ naniiqsakqas ʔam̓iiƛik qum̓aaʔakituusi y̓ukʷiiqsum̓inḥ n̓uw̓iiqsakitʔi. ʔaƛa qacc̓a muu suč̓a qum̓aaʔakituusi," waaʔaƛ ʔaḥʔaa t̓apatšiʔaƛ. 

 

ʔaaʔaatuuʔaƛ ʔanaḥʔisʔi Huksyuu: ʔunaakiič waa qum̓aamitukʷituusi naniiqsu qałaatikm̓inḥ? T̓aat̓aapatšiʔaƛ: ʔaƛa qacc̓a muu suč̓a. Hawiičiʔaƛ t̓aat̓aapata.

Credits and Acknowledgements
 

  • Written by: Veselin Jungic, SFU and Mark MacLean, UBC
  • Illustrator: Simon Roy, Victoria, B.C.
  • Director: Andy Gavel, Simon Fraser University

Special thanks to:

  • Tom Archibald, Simon Fraser University
  • Peter Jacobs, Squamish Nation
  • Ozren Jungic, University of Oxford
  • Kwosel, Seabird Island First Nation
  • Kwelaxtelot, Seabird Island First Nation
  • Susan Russell, Simon Fraser University
  • Erin Tait, Nisga'a Nation
  • Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University
  • Faculty of Science, Simon Fraser University
  • The IRMACS Centre, Simon Fraser University
  • Office for Aboriginal Peoples, Simon Fraser University
  • Pacific Institute For Mathematical Sciences

This story is part of the NSERC PromoScience project "Math Catcher: Mathematics Through Aboriginal Storytelling"

Financial support provided by NSERC, PIMS, UBC, the IRMACS Centre, and SFU