swakwun | Loon

common loon (breeding phase) – swakwun
[Gavia immer (Brünnich)] • Loons are excellent divers that feed mainly on fish. The common loon occurs throughout British Columbia. During the summer, small flocks of loons may be found in bays and coves, and on lakes. In breeding plumage, the common loon has a black head and back with white bands on the back. During the winter, common loons are dark greyish above, with white underparts and are more widely distributed than in summer.


swakwun – loon

lemut tthu swakwun.
Look at the loon.

wulh saay’ kws lhakw’s tthu swakwun.
The loon is getting ready to fly.

nan ’uw’ thi tthu smustimuhws ’i’ mumun’lh tthu t’ult’eluw’s.
His body is too big for his little wings.

ni’ xwchenum yu lhtsitsulh ’u tthu qa’ tsakw tthu shnem’s yelh sus lhakw’.
He runs across the water a long way before he flies.

tl’eqt tthu muqsuns ’i’ tsq’ix tthu sxuy’usth,
His nose is long and his back is black.

tsq’ix tthu t’ul’t’eluw’s ’i’ tthu slhuq’we’lhs, p’uq’ tthu tsxemuns.
His wings and back are black and his chest is white.

’u kwsus wulh tus ’u tthu shtsehwum ’i’ ni’ hwi’ ’uye’q tthu shtu’aal’usth tthu swakwun ni’ hwu hwu st’ul’t’el’q tthu slhuq’we’lh ’u tthu p’uq’ ni’ tl’uw’ st’ul’t’el’q ’u tthu p’uq’ sxwuxwqw’nulhs.
When he is breeding, the loon changes color to have a colored pattern on his back and a white necklace.

stsuw’et kws t’itsums ’i’ kws nuqums.
He’s really good at swimming and diving.

ha’ ni’ tsshun’tsu ’u tthu stseelhtun kwsus sun’qem’ ’i’ ni’ yu lhuy’xtus tthu shun’tsus yelhs m’is p’kwuthut.
When he dives down to catch salmon he eats it before he comes to the surface.

tun’ni’ ’u tthu shqwun’u tthu swakwun ni’ ’u tthu xatsa’ ’u tthu tum’kw’e’lus.
The loon relocates from the salt water to the lakes in the summertime.

ni ’u tthu shlhq’a’ ’u tthu xatsa’ ’i’ ni’ ch ts’elhum’ut tthu swakwun kws xeem’s.
Across the surface of the lake, you can hear the cry of the loon

haalh ni’ ts’elhum’utus tthu yuw’en’ hwulmuhw ’i’ nilh suw’ tsset tthu stl’ul’iqulh ’uw’ nem’us nuw’ilum skw’ey kwun’s lemut, sxexe’.
When the First Peoples heard him they told their children to go inside and not to look at him, because he’s forbidden.

Hul’q’umi’num’ description by Ruby Peter | sti’tum’at and Ivy Seward | tultelumat.

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