Name Guidelines

We have prepared some guidelines to help you use the correct spelling and pronunciation for səmiq̓ʷəʔelə and any other buildings on site that also include a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ [HUN-kuh-MEE-num] name.

When you use the hən̓q̓əmin̓em name, səmiq̓ʷəʔelə [suh-MEE-kwuh-EL-uh], you are showing respect to the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm [kwee-KWUH-tlum] people.

We’re confident that with a little practice, we can all learn to say and spell səmiq̓ʷəʔelə with ease!

About the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language

The traditional language of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people is hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, which is the Downriver dialect of the broader language halkomelem, one of the Coast Salish or Salish family of languages.    

hən̓q̓əmin̓em was once spoken widely by many First Nations across the Lower Mainland from the Fraser River delta to around the Stave River. Today, it is considered a severely endangered BC First Nation language with less than 100 remaining fluent speakers.

hən̓q̓əmin̓em names carry knowledge of the landscape, passed generation to generation, that connect the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people to the land, their traditions and their ancestors. The kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation is working to revitalize the use of their traditional language within their community and their Traditional Territory. 

Pronunciation of səmiq̓ʷəʔelə 

səmiq̓ʷəʔelə is a five-syllable hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word that means “Place of the Great Blue Heron.” It was given to the lands by the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people. 

hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓’s written system (orthography) is based on the North American Phonetic Alphabet (NAPA), meaning the word səmiq̓ʷəʔelə is already in phonetic spelling. While NAPA is not familiar to most English speakers, the word səmiq̓ʷəʔelə consists of sounds (or close approximations) that are used regularly in English. 

For example, the “ə” makes an “uh” sound, which is the most common sound in the English language. 

The English phonetic pronounciation of səmiq̓ʷəʔelə would be “suh-MEE-kwuh-EL-uh.”

Sound recording provided by Chief Ed Hall of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.

Written Spelling of səmiq̓ʷəʔelə 

Although your keyboard may not accommodate the special characters that are used in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓’s language, it is usually quite easy to copy and paste the word səmiq̓ʷəʔelə into your document. 

If you find that some fonts and programs won’t render the superscript “w” properly, you can correct his problem by highlighting the “w,” and press [Ctrl shift +] which will turn the "w" into a superscript. 

We encourage people to use the correct spelling for səmiq̓ʷəʔelə wherever possible.

Keyboard Extension

We have provided a simple-to-install keyboard extension for the characters used in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language. Those who need to type səmiq̓ʷəʔelə or other hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ words on a regular basis, or who have difficulty in copying and pasting the words, may want to download and install the keyboard. 

Anglicized spelling of səmiq̓ʷəʔelə

In some very limited circumstances, an anglicized version for səmiq̓ʷəʔelə may need to be used. The most common examples would be in a website URL, programs using a database or platforms using unsupported fonts.

This is why this website is called 

It is important to us that səmiq̓ʷəʔelə is spelt correctly. Please only use the anglicized version when there are no options to use the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ version. 

Additional hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ words used at səmiq̓ʷəʔelə 

kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation 
The English phonetic pronunciation would be “Kwee-kwuh- tlum
Sound recording provided by Chief Ed Hall of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.

həy̓χʷət kʷθə šxʷhəliʔ leləm (Healing Spirt House)
Sound recording provided by Chief Ed Hall of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.

θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm’ (Red Fish Healing Centre) 
Sound recording provided by Chief Ed Hall of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.


On behalf of BC Housing, and the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation, we raise our hands in thanks for your respect and support.