The Halkomelem Language

Halkomelem is a cover term for a language that has different names in its three dialects. The Upriver dialect, Halq'eméylem, is spoken in the Fraser Valley upriver from Sumas as far as Spuzzum. The people who currently identify as Stó:lo correspond approximately to the speakers of this dialect, although some communities that consider themselves Stó:lo speak Downriver dialect. (Note that the Stó:lō Nation includes only 19 of the 24 bands that consider themselves Stó:lõ.) A map of Stó:lō traditional territory may be found at:

The Downriver dialect, Hun'qumi'num', is spoken by the people living downriver from Matsqui, including the Musqueam, Katzie, and Tsawassen. The Island dialect, Hul'q'umín'um', is spoken by the Nanoose, Nanaimo, Chemainus, Cowichan, and Malahat peoples of Vancouver Island.

The English name Halkomelem is an anglicization of a compromise among the terms used in the three dialects.

Halkomelem is a Salishan language.


Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006