Section 5.9 Witsuwit'en - HALHT'Ï'M BÏ C'OLDIW LHOK HA ADUH
Written by: Veselin Jungic and Mark MacLean
Illustrated by: Simon Roy and Jess Pollard
Witsuwit'en translation by: Giluhghun (Rita George)
A note about the recording of this story:
“Small Number and the Salmon Harvest” narration in the Witsuwit'en language was finally completed in September 2022 with fluent, Witsuwit'en speaker Giluhghun (Rita George). After a lunch at the local Elements restaurant in the summer, Rita's son Gary George drove out to Tse Zul (China Nose Mountain) with Giluhghun and completed the recording with an i-pad mini. It was a beautiful afternoon on the yintah (territories) and the recording turned out nicely. There's a nice message at the end from Rita. In addition, there is so much being done to reawaken the language such as the recent release of the dictionary entitled: Witsuwit'en Hibikinic (Witsuwit'en-English and English Witsuwit'en), June 2022.
Considering this, I wanted to mention that this project is subject to modifications in spellings etc., in the future as it is a “work in progress”. Thank you to Veselin and Aidan for their assistance as well.
Snekayhlya Gary George
See Appendix A.1 for a glossary of Witsuwit'en words and phrases
Halht'ï'm ne dinee yez tabï wï dihl nehlt bibep d'a bibehn këyikh Halht'ï'm yez ehts' to wit'eh gi zihn t'ak' ët tabï hozghuts cl'a Halht'ï'm ni bibep yalaha tadilh (He's going to help his dad prepare the net) lhok im bïlh (net) wilhkan (tomorrow) wenï (prepare net for tomorrow) clah i didileelh
Small Number is a young boy who gets into a lot of mischief. He lives in a small village by the water with his mother and father. It is a crisp autumn day and Small Number is helping his father to prepare the nets for tomorrow's salmon harvest.
Tabï lhcozi (straight line) lhok hli Tabï lhay (lots) Habi ïn'en (he sees) Halht'ï'm aht-ni (he said) bibep aht-nï wilhkan bin' (tomorrow morning) To ?awtsic (water is still rising) d'ïk dïhl bihl tahgis taleelth (setting net) I-D'agh-bihl (water is high)
“There is a school of salmon by Straight Line Beach. We need to set our net in the morning while the tide is still high,” says Small Number's father. It is the first time that Small Number will go with his father to catch salmon and he has many questions.
Guht-tsëh-o'h (first time) Halht'ï'm ne bibep yihl ta yihl (going with father) kwon do'h bibep na-yuh-d-lh kit (he's asking all kinds of questions) K'ay do-ini- Tsë bïhn ya dees ?t'ic (why is the rocks attached to the net)
Duh ini Tsë bin ya deez duk (Why is the rock attached to it?)
Mbi di'inu ta Tsë biuztahtzeelh (Why are we going to use the rock?)
Duh ini ta idht Tsë bachak nizdihlne tsa lh-kit (Why is the rock is slippery on one side when we touch it?)
Doineehl gihy nih deehl siyh' (carve out the), gyitdeehl-lehhlh (Floater on top of the water.)
Tsa dadeehldez biaztahtzeehl (Weighs the net down to the bottom.)
Lhokum bïlh del yees ta? (How long is the net?) Dehl ta (wide) dadihl yez (weight)
“Why are these round pebbles on one side and those pieces of cedar on the other side of the net? Why do we need those two big rocks? What is the weight of those pebbles? How far apart are they? Why are the pieces of cedar cut in this shape? How long is the net? How deep is the net?”
Bibep Tlo#n-zin (he's smiling and says you'll see tomorrow) Halht'ï'm Neh Wihl-cahn b?ënhl w'ëhn nuhlehn s?ëhn bits'ets ts'ets bits'ets bë'ahl tiy ha' bedeenih st'ehn la' yuktazi taghes tahl-ihl ! taghes tahl-ihl (we're going to set the net) ts'ets bits'ets bë'ahl tiy ha' bedeenih hlok mbilh chlaazdinleyhl (we finished preparing the net) cl'a Yuktazi 'a'dowht towz tahl-li
“Be patient, Small Number, you will learn all tomorrow,” smiles his father. “Now run and tell your grandfather and your uncle that the net is ready and that they should be at our beach before dawn!”
Gyohlda Halht'ï'm ne tabï Hohndi (he's happy) Ohl-kyoh nesiyah (he's happy he's been everywhere), cl'a tasdli a'dowht lhok cyo to n-ehl (dream) cluk (he dreamt about salmon jumping) to yeta-guh weseslehl
Small Number is very excited about his new adventure and when he finally gets to sleep, he dreams about a big salmon jumping out of the water and falling back with a splash.
Halht'ï'm bi bin' yoh tlayihl yeduz di (he heard his mom whispering) dahnadeendeh sahnaneenzhit (wake up!)
“Wake up, Small Number. Your dad is already down at our beach,” Small Number hears his mom's gentle voice.
mbep tsa tabegh nahyayh (dad is walking down by the shore) Zihl (mountain) tl'a to tebegh yada gooh (water splashing to the shore?also tide coming in) Bin' (morning) tahneeyeh cl'a nowh wineehlehn (He went outside and looked around) tl'a dzilh -dek ethoh ?ën (he seen the tip of the mountain) to tobegh nihgiwh yedisti (He heard) bisgi habi wedeesdi (He heard the seagull)
When he steps outside, Small Number stops and looks around. He sees dark sharp peaks of mountains to the north and hears the sound of waves and the squawks of seagulls.
Tsa tabï hahnee halayh (several men) hahneehyen (seen them) Halht'ï'm hibi ?ts'ah yeehl-gihy (running towards them) dus nyin c'ikwah hots a nehdehl dus ntse wi atsm bisets yazooh (beside him) neneenyehy walked (beside him) Stso' beyah yinness sinik (giving a hug)
Down on the beach, Small Number sees a group of men and starts running towards them as fast as he can. “Just on time, Small Number,” says his grandfather hugging him. “Our canoes are loaded with nets and baskets and we are ready to go.”
tobegh chkoz-I (flat by the shore) neneen deahl (they went by the shore) gyohl-do bitsets cla' bitay tsiy (Canoe) dziy to haehneyintan (took the boat out of the water) Halht'ï'm ni cla' bibep bilh to haehneyintan tza ouht hay-yisika (still sitting in the boat), hlok hum bilh (fish net) gyohl-do bitsets to haehneyinlay (they took the net out of the water) Halht'ï'm ni tabegh to haehneyinlay bibep hlok imbigh to yalelth (setting net into the water) Heck-kehlh (rowing boat away),
When they arrive at Straight Line Beach, Small Number's grandpa and uncle pull their canoe out of the water. Small Number and his father stay in their canoe and pass the ends of the net lines to Grandfather. Small Number paddles away from the beach while his dad continues to pay out the net lines.
Tah-ghet heck-kehl neneenkiy Za nabidis-tan (when they reach where the net will be set, they turn the boat around) tek gyah dalilh (they're going to set the net), totz za hoyhyeenseht Halht'ï'm Bï c'oldiw Ma' Tseghe Tsë bedihnduk tots za-hohyihnsit (the rock is attached) Halht'ï'm naah yihlni (he told him) deeh sayh bidats (this rock) tahgyes li (weighs the net to the bottom) Gi hosehn (now I see says) Ne Halht'ï'm lhok imbihl kyehn umbihl kit hlok imbihl to yehl li (the floaters stand up straight out of the water/shows where the net is set) oh atasehn ni (oh I see it now) yuhk tathluh (bottom of the lake)
When they reach the beginning of the net, they turn the canoe parallel to the beach and dad throws a big rock that is attached to the net into the water. “This anchor will hold the net in place,” he says to Small Number. “Oh, I see,” yells Small Number, “the pebbles will keep one edge of the net on the bottom and the pieces of cedar will float and keep the other edge of the net on the surface!”
Halht'ï'm ni lhok tabegh ohyah habilhsayh (swimming along) habiw'nën(we see) Bin -begh (lake shore) Halht'ï'm Ni bidzi da dihldis (heartbeats faster) tabï neneenki ohyah habiehn cyo tabï gazuu
Small Number sees how a large group of salmon have drifted inshore with the incoming tide. He looks at their large smooth bodies and feels his heartbeat fasten. “How strong and beautiful these fish are!”
Tabï nehnnenkiy ëht diwht hlok imbïhl cl'a Halht'ï'm na zëh na dïhz bï kahk tabï wëht-zëh cl'a Halht'ï'm bit'iy Ha-la-iyinle
The anchor secures the other end of the net and Small Number turns the canoe towards the beach where his dad passes the net lines to Small Number's uncle.
Halht'ï'm ni bibep tza tabï naneehnkiy dëhl zihk hlok Tza dahdahllih Tsana tuh habilhlagitatzuhk (how are we going to give out the fish to many people) tso ahneehl-zuhk cl'a sahnï ba-be Tsana to ah adas-yehl hlok so-ah-dah dihl
While his dad pulls the canoe out of water, Small Number asks, “How many salmon will we catch today? How are we going to divide the salmon among our families? Will there be enough for everybody? How do we know that the salmon will come back?”
Unuk Nu gihne bibep atne ghen outizeenda (you stay here) deintiy lhok imbe bilegh iyinle stets bitsadas-yehl (I'm going to my grandfather) bilagh atasneelh (going to help him)
“We have our ways,” answers his father. “Now, you stay here to help your uncle pull on the net lines. I'm going to help grandpa.”
Lhok imbe hanayalilh (take the net out) Halht'ï'm ziyoh habi-ehn (he sees it all) dehlsuk lhok hiyis gluh? (How many fish did you catch?) tabï nus widzuhn (from shore to further out) tabï lhy iyiz glu butni bitiy tabï Honzu to bi-deen-bin wayt saht-san-deehl et to yuht dah gyah lhok geht-zuhl-zik wes-tahts-lik
They start hauling in the net. Small Number sees that all fish within the area between the beach and the net are captured and says to his uncle, “Good that we came during the high tide. If the tide were low we wouldn't catch this many fish. Our ways are good!”
Small Number ahneen-zihn sehn-a to yeht-ta-gyah Halht'ï'm Yez yehta-lewh?
Question: Why did Small Number think that during a low tide the catch would be much smaller?