What language do the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh speak?
People sometimes ask me “What is the Tsleil-Waututh language called and what is the Musqueam language called” as though they are different languages.
The Indigenous language of Musqueam Nation and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is Halkomelem (and called hunq’umin’um’ in their dialect).
There is no “Musqueam language” and no “Tsleil-Waututh language” but the Halkomelem language.
The Halkomelem language is spoken by 41 different First Nations in southwestern British Columbia.
The Indigenous language of the Squamish Nation is the Squamish Language. It is distinct and separate from it’s neighbouring languages such as the Sechelt language, the St’át’imcets language, and the Halkomelem language.
Both of these languages are part of the Coast Salish language family similar to how Spanish, French, and Italian are part of the Romance language family.
Regional, village, and family dialects one existed across these languages but much of that variation has disappeared during the decline.