Gathering Tule

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s’eluhw slheni’ elderly lady

yaay’us thu s’elhuhw slheni’ ni’ ’u tthu tsetsuw’, xatsa’.
The elderly lady is working on th shore of the lake.

yaay’us thu s’eluhw slheni’ ni’ ’u tthu tsetsuw’.
The elderly lady is working on the shore.

yaa’yus thu slheni’ ni’ ’utl’ kwa’mutsun xats’a’ qa’.
The elderly lady is working in the waters of Quamichan lake.

’a’luxutus thu s’eluhw slheni’ ’u tthu wool’.
The elderly lady is gathering tules.

sq’eq’up’st-hwus thu slheni’ tthu wool’.
The lady has the tules tied up in a bundle.

sts’uts’e’ tthu wool’ ’u tthu snuhwulhs.
The tules are sitting on her canoe. 

thu s’eluhw slheni’ hakw’ushus tthu tl’eqt tsq’ix tl’itl’uptun’.  
The elderly woman is wearing a long black skirt.

needs recording.
hakw’ushus thu s’eluhw slheni’ tthu tl’eqt tsq’ix tl’itl’uptun’.  
slheni’ hakw’ushus thu lushan.
The elderly woman is wearing the shawl.

shqiqutus thu s’eluhw slheni’.
She’s got a headscarf on.

ha’kwushus thu tl’xwi’qwtun thu s’eluhw slheni’.
The elderly woman wearing a kerchief.

ni’ ’utl’ kwa’mutsun xatsa’ qa’ kwus ’a’luxutus tthu wool’.
It’s at Quamichan Lake that she is gathering the tules.

q’ept tthu wool’
Tule Gatherer

This is a picture taken by Edward S. Curtis when he visited the Quw’utsun’ mustimuhw in 1913. Ruby Peter — Sti’tum’at explains the picture in Hul’q’umi’num’. 



shxaatth’ustun ni’ ’u tthu xatsa’, kwa’mutsun xatsa’.
This is the picture of the lake, Quamichan Lake.

ni’ thu s’eluhw tsnuhwulh q’eptus tthu wool’, wool’ tthu q’eptus.
There’s a lady Elder with a canoe gathering tules.

m’i ’uw’ yu hwakw’tus ’ul’ sus m’uw’ yu sq’uq’a’ tthu kwumluhws kwsus m’i qtl’um.
She just pulls the whole plant right out, including the roots, when they are pulled out.

sus ’uw’ yu q’epnutstus q’eq’up’utus.
She is bundling up those tules and tying them up.

sli’shaan’ sus ’uw’ shqiqutus thu s’eluhw.
The old lady has on a shawl and a kerchief.

ha’ ni’ ’aluxutum tthu wool’ ’i’ hay ’ul’ qux tthu ni’ ’aluxutum sus ’uw’ xte’um ’u tthu slhewun, sala’uts.
When the tule are gatherered, they have to gather a whole lot so they can make mats and wall mats.

hay ’ul’ qux ni’ shhwa’kwushe’wut tthu wool’.
Tule was used for many different things.

kwsus wulh hun’umutnuhwus ’i’ ni’ hwi’ ma’talust-hwus.
When she gets it home she pulls it apart.

sus ’uw’ ts’uy’hwtus yuw’en’, yelhs hakwushs.
She dries it first, before it is used.

kwsus wulh thuytus ’i’ ni’ saay’ tthu ts’qw’e’lhtun, tthu xwi’lum’.
When she prepares it, she has the long needle ready, and a string.

’i’ ni’ yu hwthuy’thiy’qustul’ kwsus wulh thuytus, sus ’uw’ yu sul’iq’tul’.
They are laid opposite to each other, so it will be even.

(Tule is thick at the bottom and goes thin on the top, so one gets tipped one way and the next the other way.)

’i’ tl’e.e.eqt tthu ts’qw’e’lhtuns — ni’ ts’twa’ st’e ’ukw’ tskw’ush ’i’ kw’ xu’athun kwsus inches kws tl’eqt-s tthu ts’qw’e’lhtun.
The needle is very long —it may be 24 inches long, the length of the needle.

’i’ ni’ tthu qwthumtsus.
And there was also a creaser.

nilh ni’ shhwt-siwutewut tthu ts’qw’e’lhtun.
That was to press onto the needle when it is inside the tule.

ni’ wulh st’i’am’ tthu xwi’lum’ ’i’ ni.i.i ts’qw’iwutum ni’ ts’twa’ st’e ’ukw’ ’apun ’i’ kw’ te’tsus inches kwus hwu sts’uts’aqw’ tthu wool’.
The rope is attached and the needle is poked through the tule, about 18 inches the tule is pierced.

’i’ ni’ hwi’ hwt-siwutum ’u tthey’ qwthumtsus.
And then that creaser is used on it before it is pushed through.

nilh kws ’uwus nem’us susuxw.
That prevents it from splitting open.

ha’ ’uwu niis hakwushum kwthu qwthumtsus ’i’ nem’ hwi’ saxwthut.
The reason for the creaser is so where the spot where the needle is put through won’t run down.

ni’ ts’twa’ st’e ’ukw’ t’xum sxun’u tthu ni’ they’tus kws lhq’et-s.
They are about 6 feet wide when they are made.

’i’ ni’ st’e ’ukw’ xu’athun sxun’u kws tsitsulhs [tl’eqt-s].
And they are about 4 feet in height.

’i’ nilh ’uw’ sht’es kwsus yu ha’kwushum’ tthey’ ts’qw’e’lhtun.
And this is how that needle is used.

hay ’ul’ hith syaays.
It takes a longtime to do that work.

ni’ tl’uw’ st’e kwthu sp’u’aaythuns nilh ni’ tl’uw’ tl’i’.
And, it is the same for the finishing the edges, it is also very difficult.

’i’ nilh tthu xwi’lum’ ni’ yu ha’kwushus, yuse’lu xwi’lum’, kwsus wulh p’u’aaythutum tthu tsitsulh ’i’ tl’uw’ st’e tthu tl’itl’up kwsus wulh hay.
And strings were used, two strings, for the finishing off the edges at the top and also at the bottom where it ends.

’i’ ’uweelh niis ’uw’ hwnuts’us ’ul’ tthu syaaysth kwsus wulh thuytum tthey’.
It was never just one layer of mat that was worked on.

niilh hwyusa’lus kws plhet-s tthu slhewun.
It was double-layer to increase the thickness of a mat.

’i’ nilh ni’ sala’uts kwus wulh nem’ ’u tthu t’amuns tthu lelum’s tthu mustimuhw .
And sala’uts was the name for the mats used on the walls of the old houses.

’i’ nilh niilh ’uw’ hakwushum tthu slhewun kwsus nilh ni’ ha’kwushus kwsus wulh ’itut tthu s-hwutl’qun’s.
And they also used the tule mats when they were sleeping as a pillow.

’i’ niilh tl’uw’ ha’kwushus kwsus stl’palwe’lh ’u tthu stl’pel’qun’.
It was used for the mats under the beds like feather mattresses.

ni’ tthu mustimuhw ’i’ ’uwute’ stl’pel’qun’s ’i’ ni’ tthuw’ tstl’pel’qun’.
The people didn’t have feather mattresses and so that was their mattress.

hay ’ul’ thi syaaysth tthu slhunlheni’ ’u kwsus wulh thuytus tthu wool’.
It was very hard work for the ladies when they worked on the tules.

ts’uhwle’ nuw’ tl’e’luqt kwsus hwi _ _
Sometimes they would make very long ones as long as…

nilh ni’ hwi ’uw’ lelum’s sala’utsew’t-hw
And those were used to make a house, a mat house.

’i’ nilh nuw’ sht’es kwsus ’uw’ yu sthuthiqw’ ’u kwsus tum’kw’e’lus ’i’ ni’ tuy’ti’qul’ tthu mustimuhw.
That was what they stacked up when the people moved around in the summertime.

’i’ nilh ni’ shq’uluts’tun’s kwsus nem’ tuy’ti’qul’.
It was used as their shelter (huts) when they were moving to different areas.

qux niilh shhwha’kwushe’wut tthu wool’ — thu lelum’s, tthu t’amun,
Tules were used for many things — shelter, walls, pillows.

niilh ’uw’ sthuthi’ tthu lelum’ ’utl’ Sitxuletse’ ’i’ nilh niilh ’uw’ shputhnutstuns tthu leel’we’lh.
So that’s how the house of Sitxuletse’ was fixed— the bleachers were covered with mats.

(Sitxuletse’ is Ruby Peter’s great-grandfather and she saw his longhouse fixed that way when she was about 8 or 9 years old).

ni.i.iw’ nilh ’ul’ tthey’ ni’ thuthi’st-hwus tthey’ ni’ ’u tthu leel’we’lh sun’iw’ ’u thu lelum’s.
It was just this that was used to fix up the bleachers inside his house.

’i’ tthu t’amun ’i’ nilh tthey’ wool’ sala’uts, nilh ni’ shkw’e’lusth tthu lelum’s.
And the walls were covered with tule mats to keep the house warm.

’uw’ hayulh ’ul’ ni’ ha’kwushus tthuw’ t’at mustimuhw tthu wool’.
This was all what the old people used to use the tule for.

mukw’ stem ni’ shte’s kwus ha’kwushus kwthu tum’kw’e’lus ’i’ nilh nuw’ lelum’s, t’amuns ’i’ nilh nuw’ t’amuns tl’e’ ’u kwsus tum’kw’e’lus.
They used it in many different ways in the summertime, and it was their houses and also walls in the summer.

we’ tthu pupute’num’ ’i’ nilh niilh tl’uw’ they’tum shpupute’num’, ’u kwsus nem’ shaqwul tthu q’xhuw’lh.
Even with sailing, they would used also use them as sails, made them into sails when crossing over to the other side in the voyageur canoes.

’i’ niilh tl’uw’ thuytum shpupute’num’s tthu mustimuhw.
So the people made them into sails.

ni’ulh kwu’elh qux syaay’us, qux syaays tthu mustimuhw.
This was thus a lot of work for the people.

ni’ hay.
The end.

Thanks to Ruby Peter for laying down the words and transcribing them and to Sarah Kell and Donna Gerdts for typing and editing them. Donna Gerdts recorded and edited the sound file, with noise reduction and other post-production by Sean Milliken.