Phyllis and Fern Gabriel are holding a book launch and Lelem’ Arts and Cultural Cafe on Saturday, Dec. 7, for their children’s book Let’s Count the Moon. (submitted)

Teaching Langley how to count the moon

hən̓q̓əmin̓əm language teacher Fern Gabriel releases Kwantlen children’s book this Saturday, Dec. 7

Sisters Fern and Phyllis Gabriel are unveiling a brand new children’s counting book, which aims to teach readers how to count in a Kwantlen language.

Written in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm dialect, Phyllis tackled the illustrations while Fern said she dedicates herself to preserve the language.

”There are 1,000 ways of counting in the language – different ways to count people… canoes… houses… birds…” Fern explained. “There are 13 moons in one year and we count moons the same way we count money, because they are both circular.”

Though Fern does not consider herself an author, pointing out that the book only dealt with numbers and expressing that her sister’s work is what really sells the books, the opportunity to share her culture was still a welcomed one.

Holding bachelors degrees in history and education, Fern has studied and taught hən̓q̓əmin̓əm for 20 years while also serving as a teacher in the Langley School District.

“The language is critically endangered because there are no speakers,” Fern said. “I hope to inspire more people to take interest.”

Read More: Kwantlen-language street signs proposed for Fort Langley

A book launch will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Lelem’ Arts and Cultural Cafe, located at #100 – 23285 Billy Brown Rd. in Fort Langley.

All proceeds go to language revitalization.

More information on the event can be found on the book launch Facebook page.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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