Poem: Oh, my grandchild!

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’imuth, ’i’ nilh nu q’uw’u.
Grandchild, who is my cane.

This is a poem that Sti’tum’at (Ruby Peter) wrote dedicated to her grandson in appreciation of the way that he follows the teachings about caring for the Elders.

’imuth, ’i’ nilh nu q’uw’u.
Grandchild, who is my cane.

mukw’ nu shnem’ ’i’ kwun’et tsun tthunu q’uw’u,
Wherever I go, I take my cane with me,

na’nuts’a’ nu ’imuth.
my one certain grandchild.

nilh ni’ hekw’st-hween’ ’u kwunus nem’ tl’shhwimelu.
He remembers for me when I go to the store.

’i’ nilh nu ’imuth nilh yukwun’eteen’.
And it’s my grandchild that I bring with me.

kwun’s s’aluhwthut ’i’ ni’ ch hwu me’mul’q,
When you get old, you become forgetful,

’i’ nilh tthunu ’imuth he’kw’ ’u tthunu stl’i’.
And it’s my grandchild who remembers what I need.

we’ tthunu s’ulhtun ’i’ ni’ hwu nets’,
Even my food has changed,

huy’thust tthunu ’imuth ’u tthunu stl’i’.
and I tell my grandchild of my needs.

yath tsun ’uw’ xut’ustuhw,
I always say to him,

“he’kw’stam’sh ch ’u tthunu s’ulhtun ni’ ’uy’st-hween’.”
“Remind me about my food that I like.”

’i’ nilh tthunu ’imuth ni’ yath ’uw’ kwun’eteen’ kwunus ’i’mush.
And it’s my grandchild who I always have with me when I’m going somewhere.

’i’ ’uwu tsun niin’ tususstun’mut,
And I don’t feel sorry for myself,

nilh kwus ni’ tthunu ’imuth,
because of the grandchild who is there,

nilh nu q’uw’u ’u tthuw’ mukw’ skweyul.
who is my cane everyday.

tthunu s’ulhtun, tthunu s’itth’um, ’i’ nilh le’lum’utus.
My food, my clothing, he looks after them.

hekw’stam’shus ’u tthuw’ mukw’ stem, nu ’imuth.
He reminds me about everything, my grandchild.

’i’ nilh niilh ’uw’ sqwaqwul’s tthu syuw’en’ tst.
And that is what our ancestors used to talk about.

“’ey’i’t ch tthun’ yu slhi’a’uqwt,
Take good care of your descendants,

’i’ hwu kw’am’kw’um’ tthu shqwaluwuns,
and their hearts and minds will become strong,

’i’ nilh tse’ le’lum’utha’mu.”
and they will be the ones who take care of you.”

’i’ ’uw’ thu’it,
And it’s really true,

’i’ nilh tthunu ’imuth yath ’uw’ le’lum’utham’sh.
because it’s my grandchild who’s always looking after me.

nilh nu ts’uwtun ’u tthuw’ mukw’ stem kwunus ’imush.
He’s my helper for everything as I walk through life.

’i’ tthu ni’ nu stl’i’,
And for all my needs,

’i nilh tthunu ’imuth ts’ets’uw’utham’sh.
it’s my grandchild that helps me.

’i’ hay ch q’u, ’imuth, kws nuwus ni’ nu ts’uwtun.
Thank you, grandchild, for being my helper.

yath ch ’uw’ ’i ’al’mutstham’sh.
You are always here standing by.

yath ch ’uw’ putum’uth ’ukw’ stem nu stl’i’.
You are always asking if there is anything I need.

’i’ hay ch q’u, ’imuth.
And thank you, my grandchild.

Hul’q’umi’num’ speech and translation by Ruby Peter.
Transcription by Donna Gerdts.
Sound recording by Thomas Jones.