Tellings from Our Elders: Lushootseed syeyehub
616 pages, 6 x 9
7 photographs; 1 table
Release Date:01 Feb 2014
Release Date:01 Feb 2014

Tellings from Our Elders: Lushootseed syeyehub

Volume 1: Snohomish Texts

UBC Press

Rich in cultural and linguistic information, the traditional stories of the Coast Salish people contain the keys to cultural revitalization. Tellings from Our Elders presents eighteen stories in Snohomish, a dialect of Lushootseed, the language of the Indigenous peoples who live on the southern and eastern shores of Puget Sound, as told by members of the last generation to claim the language as their mother tongue.

Many of these stories – or syeyehub – were recorded decades ago, but few were transcribed, and even fewer analyzed. Deep understanding of the structure and logic of these texts has eluded linguists and younger generations. In this landmark study, David Beck and Thom Hess examine the structure of the language, the richness of the grammar, and the narrative stylistics of these important texts.

With English translations, full morpheme-by-morpheme glosses, and a glossary of specialized terminology, this book is certain to be both an invaluable resource for scholars and a tool for those who want to ensure that Lushootseed is used by generations to come.

This collection will be of interest not only to linguists, typologists, and students of oral narrative but also to speakers and learners of Lushootseed and other Coast Salishan languages.

As excellent examples of a specifically linguistic form of textual presentation, these volumes definitely achieve what they have set out to do. As such, they are not books that one would pick up simply to read the stories. Nevertheless, it is possible to discern that the stories are rich in teachings, [and] that they are beautifully told … Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, University of Victoria, BC Studies
The scholarship is impeccable. The volume is essential to stimulating continued examination of the language and the challenges it raises for linguistic theory. It is also crucial as a resource to Lushootseed communities creating strategies for using the language. Crisca Bierwert, author of Brushed by Cedar, Living by the River: Coast Salish Figures of Power

David Beck is a professor of linguistics at the University of Alberta. Thom Hess was a professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria.

Foreword / Tulalip Tribes Lushootseed Department


Language / Texts / Transcription and analysis / Transcription practices / Presentation / Acknowledgments /

1 seswixab Martha Williams Lamont

Pheasant and Raven / The Brothers of Pheasant's Wife / Changer / Owl Lives There / Little Diver Is the Wife of Heron / Crow Is Sick (First Telling) / Crow Is Sick (Second Telling) / Basket Ogress / Mink and Tutyika (First Telling) / Mink and Tutyika (Second Telling) / Coyote and His Daughter / Coyote's Son Had Two Wives

2 Elizabeth Charles (Charley) Krise

Lady Louse / First Version / Second Version

3 s?adacut Edward “Hagan” Sam

Black Bear and Ant / Black Bear and Fish Hawk / Coyote and the Big Rock / Mink and Tutyika

4 lalacut Agnes Jules James

Basket Ogress

Glossary; References          

Find what you’re looking for...

Free shipping on online orders over $40

Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.