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Khelsilem Rivers

Multidisciplinary Artist & Educator

Khelsilem is a traditional Skwo-mesh (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) name given to him by his paternal grandmother in a traditional naming ceremony. In the naming customs of Skwo-mesh society, a person may receive a name that is handed down from an ancestor who had once carried the name.

Khelsilem is an Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw independent creative professional. He was born and raised in his Skwo-mesh homelands on the North Shore of Vancouver. For five years he has been involved in a social, political and cultural movement to reclaim nearly extinct Indigenous languages in British Columbia. He is the founder of the Skwo-mesh Language Academy — a new organization with a purpose to create language immersion programming for young people in his community to become fluent speakers of their language.

He is an avid lover of dogs, enjoys the outdoors, and has been apprenticing with a mentor from his community on the art and craft of traditional canoe building for the past number of years.

Khelsilem currently works with the neighbouring Sel̓íl̓wit / Səlil̓wət (‘Tsleil-Waututh’) Nation on language revitalization projects.
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You'd Care If The English Or French Language Disappeared

According to a 2010 report, my heritage language is the third most endangered indigenous language in British Columbia. It is the language of this land that Vancouver currently resides on -- and today it has less than six fluent speakers alive in the world.
10/03/2014 02:51 EDT
Kinder Morgan

Why Is Big Oil Sponsoring B.C.'s Reconciliation Week

To accept and use money from these companies is outrageous. It is an obvious contradiction: How can the organizers promote reconciliation while giving Big Oil companies a pass when those same companies are directly involved in damaging Indigenous ways of life? This was the exact purpose of Residential Schools. The Residential School system had sought (among many things) to displace Indigenous peoples from our homelands; yet again, these companies are seeking to displace our peoples from our homelands to reap the benefit at our expense.
09/18/2013 11:23 EDT