Victor Guerin has worked for over 30 years to revitalize hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, one of three dialects of the Coast Salish Halkomelem language, and the closest to extinction. Photo: © City of Vancouver

Victor Guerin is dedicated to revitalizing the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language and pressing for Indigenous rights

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Victor Guerin, a master’s student in Linguistics for a First Nations Language, has been awarded the 2020-21 Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship (IGES). Guerin is dedicated to revitalizing hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, the downriver dialect of the Halkomelem language spoken by the Musqueam people. There are fewer than 200 speakers of the Halkomelem language overall and only four proficient speakers of the Musqueam’s hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ dialect.

“I've been involved in revitalization of my language for some 30-plus years and my family's been politically involved for generations,” says Guerin. “My grandma was a political activist pressing for Indigenous rights.”

Guerin, who will enter the Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies PhD program in the Fall 2020 semester, is documenting the knowledge passed on to him by Musqueam elders over the decades. Compiling source information in one place will provide the First Nation’s leadership with a basis to press forward with its battle to re-establish Indigenous rights and title.

Guerin's path to learning linguistics at SFU began as a child when his mother as Band Administrator hired his late granduncle Arnold Guerin to run a language instruction program at Musqueam. His path to learning about Indigenous laws began at the opening of Expo 86.

Read more on the Department of Linguistics web site ...

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