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Uncle’ Louis Miranda
'Uncle' Louis Miranda

Oil on Canvas, 20 x 24, 1983
'Uncle' Louis Miranda, Sxaaltxw
1892-1990
Linguist, Culture and Language Revitalist
Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish)

'Uncle' Louis Miranda
  • Born in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) from Simon Fraser University.

“I was raised to believe that I should not look up, nor look down at the white man; that all are created equal, that all are children of God. I was taught to have respect for myself and respect my fellow man. You have to get your education, because the foundation of life is education, love, respect and determination that you’re going to do what is right.” - 'Uncle' Louis Miranda

Louis Miranda – also known as Sxaaltxw – inspired generations as a champion of the Squamish (Skwxwú7mesh) language and culture. As a chief for 53 years, he served as an invaluable resource for land claims and legal issues, offering first-hand accounts of early land policy and the life of the coastal nations of British Columbia. Uncle Louis, as he was fondly nicknamed, acted as an educator and bastion of cultural preservation into his 90s. He offered insights into Squamish history and culture, especially the rearing of children and youth. He assisted in the documentation of his language, translating nearly 1,800 Squamish words into English and helping compile a two-volume work called The Squamish Language, published in 1967-68 by Dutch linguist Aert Kuipers. Uncle Louis was called a national living treasure by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law by Simon Fraser University (1981) for his work in language development and his cultural contributions.

For more information about First Nations in B.C., resources available at UBC, or information about these individuals, visit the Resources section.

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