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Songs of Y-Ail-Mihth, The Ancient Singer
by Chief William Sepass
Sixteen ancient Indigenous origin legends narrated and accompanied by traditional drumming and singing. All Indigenous talent.
- Introduction by Shane Pointe
- Foreword by The Honourable Steven L. Point
- Poems recited by Gabriel George
A long time ago, the songs of the ancient singer, Y-Ail-Mihth, echoed in the minds of all Coast Salish People. In the tradition of their oral culture, before English was ever heard on the land of the Stó:lō people, the songs of the ancient singer were heard over a four-day period during their sun ceremonies, narrated by the Golden Snake, K’HHalserten, Chief William Sepass. The Golden Snake always told them precisely, always the same way every time.
Sepass was born a few years after Simon Fraser travelled down the River to the Coast. It was not a good time for the Stó:lō People. Death was everywhere on the land. The Gold Rush saw 30,000 settlers move in during a single year. Following them: priests, pastors, farmers, disease…and then the Indian residential schools came and took their children away.
The Stó:lō people, through legislation, were forced to live on small lots of land, and told to speak the King’s English, told to be farmers, told not to tell their own stories, told not to practice their own beliefs, their own laws, or the ways of the seasons, and even the ways of the longhouse.
Siya:m Sepass worried. He worried for his people—those who were left. He grieved for his lost family. He worried about the traditional stories he carried—Songs of Y-Ail-Mihth. Sepass was the last storyteller who remembered them in the tradition of the great longhouses. Siya:m Sepass wanted the songs he carried published in the same way the stories shared by the church were preserved.
Now, more than fifty years later, the long awaited Songs of Y-Ail-Mihth, have been produced, mastered and published in the oral tradition in which they were meant to be heard…and more importantly, remembered.
The poems you are about to hear are recited by the grandson of the late Chief Dan George—Gabriel George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Gabriel recites them in the English language with background songs, drums and rattles by Jared Sepass, Jayson Malloway-Sepass, Roberta Malloway-Sepass, and Tyrell Williams.
© Copyright Gerald Sepass