sq’eetl’ | River Otter

Story by Ruby Peter & Cim MacDonald

Photos by Cim MacDonald

Voice by Delores Louie

Sound recording by Leona Louie

Sound editing by  Donna Gerdts, Leona Louie, & Lauren Schneider

eBook production by Michelle Parent

Hul’q’umi’num’ language editing by Donna Gerdts & Ruby Peter

Produced by Donna Gerdts & Lauren Schneider

sq’eetl’ | River Otter

’een’thu sq’eetl’.

lemut lhu tthu ’uy’uy’mut nu kw’uluw’. 

tumlhalus ’i’ plhet ’i’ mul’ul.

I am sq’eetl’. 

Look at my beautiful fur. 

My fur is brown and thick and soft.

ni’ tst hwnuts’ulwum sq’uq’ip 

ni’ ’u tthu stal’uw’ tsuwmun, 

kwa’tl’kwu tsuwmun.

hay tst ’ul’ stsuw’et kws t’it’utsum’ tst.

We live together in families 

on the banks of the rivers 

and along the shores of the ocean. 

We are really good swimmers.

tthu s’aa’lh lelum’s ni’ ’u tthu shqwuhi’wun’ stutes ’u tthu q’a’.

nilh shni’ tst kwutst kwan ’u kwsus yu qw’iqw’ul’us.

lemut tthu xuthinuws sq’uli’q’eetl’.

Our home is a burrow in the rocks near the water. 

This is where we are born in the spring. 

Look at the four little river otters.

nan ’uw’ uy’ kws le’lum’utus thu tens thu sq’eetl’allh. 

yath ’uw’ yu lumtsunum ’u tthu s’e’tl’q 

yelhs m’i tst ’utl’qul huw’a’lum.

yath ’uw’ hwii’las ’u tthu spe’uth, 

stqeeye’ ’i’ tthu mustimuhw.

Mother takes good care of her baby. 

She always checks for danger 

before we come out to play.

She watches for bears, 

wolves and humans.

lemut lhu thu mumun’lh tsq’ix qulum’.

munum’lh tthunu qw’oon’ ’i’ thi tthunu muqsun.

hwtaqthut tthunu qw’oon’ ’i’ muqsun ’u kwunus nuqum.

lemut lhu tthu tl’eqt nu sqwini’uthun, 

nilh nu shsuw’q’ tthunu s’ulhtun.

Look at my tiny black eyes.

My ears are little and my nose is big.

My ears and nose close up when I swim underwater.

Look at my long whiskers. 

I use them to find food.

lemut lhu tthunu plhet shtl’up’i’nuts.

tl’lim’ ’uw’ tl’eqt.

plhet tthu kw’uluw’ she’ituns ’i’ ni’ tuw’ stth’uw’e’qsun’. nilh shxwums kwunus xatl’uthut ’u kwunus yu t’it’utsum’ ’u tthu qa’.

Look at my thick tail. 

It is really long.

It is furry and has a pointed end.

I use it to make quick turns when I am swimming in the water.

stutelh tthunu sxun’u st’e ’uw’ niis slhulhin’.

nilh ni’ nu shhw’uy’ kwunus t’it’utsum’.

lemut lhu tthu ’uya’th nu sq’xwa’luw’tsus.

nilh hay ’ul’ nu shhw’uy’ tthunu sxun’u ’u tthu s’ulhtun.

My feet are webbed. 

They are good for paddling in the water.

Look at my sharp nails.

I am really good at using my feet to handle my food.

’uy’stuhw tsun tthu ’ey’x, s’axwa’ ’i’ tthu stseelhtun.

lemutham’sh lhu ’i’ tsun yu t’it’utsum’ yu ts’um’et thu ’ey’x.

nilh tse’ nu s’ulhtun. ’e’ut ’uw’ ’uy’.

I love crabs. Also, I like clams and fish.

Look at me swimming carrying the crab in my mouth.

This is going to be my meal. It’s delicious.

nem’ustuhw tsun thu ’ey’x ’u tthu tsuwmun kwunus lhuyxt.

yuw’en’ kwunus tl’lim’ ’uw’ hwisuthut.

nilh ni’ tuw’ shqtl’ums tthu qa’.

I bring my crab up on shore to eat it.

First, I have to give myself a good shake.

That gets the water out of my fur.

hay ’ul’ kw’am’kw’um’ thunu yunus. 

ni’ yakw’utus thu ’ey’x ’i’ thu s’axwa’.

la’lum’uthut ch! xwum ’i’ tth’lekw’thaam ’u thu ’ey’x! nan tsun ’uw’ uy’stuhw tthu s’ulhtun tun’ni’ ’u tthu kw’atl’kwu.

My teeth are strong and 

I can crack open crabs and clams.

Careful! The crab’s claws can pinch!I really enjoy food that comes from the sea.

lhhwelu tst kwutst nem’ t’itsum sew’q’ ’u tthu s’ulhtun.

ni’ tst hwmutqwusum’ ’u kwutst suw’q’.

ha’ tst lumnuhw kw’uw’ stem’ ’ul’ ’i’ nilh snem’ tst ’uw’ nuqumut.

We swim around together looking for food, three of us.

We put our head underwater to look.

If we see something, 

we will dive down and get it.

’i tsun tskwun ’u thu ’ey’x. 

nem’ tsun kw’i’ ’u tthu shlhulheel’ kwunus lhuyxt.

nem’ tsun tse’ hwt’uqw’lhne’numstuhw tthunu ts’lhsq’eetl’.

’uwu kws ts’e’ts’ulitul’ tst ’u tthu s’ulhtun tst. 

yath tst ’uw’ ’aa’hwustul’.

I got a crab! I go up on the dock to eat it.

I will share this with my fellow otters.

We never fight over the food. 

We always share.

ni’ ch tse’ ’uw’ lumnal’hw ’u kwutst m’i qi’a’thut 

’ewu ’u kwthu shlhulheel’ ni’ ’utl’ tl’ulpalus.

ts’uhwle’ ’i’ ni’ tst ’uw’ kwunnuhw tthu stl’epx s’ulhtun ni’ ’u kwthey’.

hey’! ni’ stem kwthey’? tl’lim’ ’uy’eluqup.

You will see us come out of hiding

up onto the dock at Cowichan Bay, 

Sometimes we find scraps of food there.

Hey! What’s that? It smells good.

ni’ tst wulh hayuqun. 

nem’ tst kwu’elh qewum.

tthu shlhulheel’ ’i’ nilh ’uy’ shni’s kwun’s lut’qw’thut.

ni’ ’aaya’qtul’ tthu shlemuxuntun tst ’u kwutst ’itut.

We are finished eating. 

It’s time for a rest.

The dock is a good place to relax.

We take turns keeping watch while the others sleep.

ni’ tst ts’its’uw’atul’ ’u kwutst thuyuwsum.

’ey’i’t tst tthu kw’uluw’ tst 

nilh ni’ shhw’uy’ tst kws t’it’utsum’ tst.

thi syaays tthu hwsew’q’lhne’num 

nilh shhw’uy’s kws tl’lim’ tst ’uw’ sqequw’.

We take turns grooming each other.

We keep our fur clean 

so we can be good swimmers.

Gathering food is hard work 

and we need our rest.

tun’a lhnimulh sq’eetl’ ’i’ nilh ’uw’ shni’ tst tthu sta’luw’.

yath tst ’uw’ yaay’ustul’ ’i’ yath tst ’uw’ huw’a’lum’.

’iyustuhw tst kws ni’ tst ’u tthu tsuwmuns tthu kw’atl’kwu.

We are river otters and our home is in the creeks.

We work together and we play together.

And we enjoy living on the shores of the saltwater.

ni’ hay.

hay tseep q’u.

The end.

Thank you.