Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man) Rock 1.0

Sunday, February 21, 12021 HE

I took advantage of the lengthening days and paddled from Vanier Park to Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man) rock. This the essentially the northernmost point that you can paddle to before the restricted seaway leading to the Port of Vancouver. I was informed of this last summer when I errantly paddled in the area.

Slhx̱í7lsh or “standing man” is the translation from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) language, is an immortalized father who was transformed into stone as a reward for his unselfish preparation for the arrival of his child according to the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh First Nations legend. For more on the backstory of this legend and the renaming of the rock see this CBC article from 2017. This Wikipedia article gives a brief account of the geological history and this post tells First Nations legend as it was recounted to Pauline Johnson. Though it is couched in a colonial lens. And here is a video from Global News which has the correct pronunciation (which is at the 00:01:27 mark).

Unfortunately, as is described in the Global News video above, the commonly used name for the landmark, Siwash Rock, has a derogatory etymology. According to this article from the CBC, the word Siwash has its origins in Chinook jargon. And its origins can be traced back to the French word Sauvage, or Savage in English. So Standing Man or Standing One is a much more respectable title if you are intimidated about how to go about saying Slhx̱í7lsh. It is the “7” that throws me off when sizing up saying the word. It turns out, the 7 is what is known in spoken languages as a “glottal stop.” The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʔ⟩. According to the Wikipedia page on glottal stops, some Canadian indigenous languages have adopted the phonetic symbol ʔ itself as part of their orthographies. In some languages the numeral 7 or question mark is sometimes substituted for ʔ, and in the Squamish language is even preferred.

It was an overcast morning, but peaceful and beautiful.

Here is the view looking towards the West End from the Vanier Park public boat ramp. I decided to bring out my old board to give it a ride.

The view from the Vanier Park boat ramp. Photo by Mon Jef Peeters.

The view approaching Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man) with West Vancouver in the background and the North Shore Mountains obscured by the cloud cover.

The view looking north of Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man). Photo by Mon Jef Peeters.

And the view from the other side of Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man) rock.

The view looking southwest of Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man). Photo by Mon Jef Peeters.

The photo below shows the remnants of the artillery battery and searchlight post looking over Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man) rock from World War I and II, respectively. An eery reminder of the past centuries battles.

The view looking south of Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man) and the artillery battery on the left. Photo by Mon Jef Peeters.
Screenshot of Google Fit activity tracker.

2 thoughts on “Slhx̱í7lsh (Standing Man) Rock 1.0

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