sesmelot [at] hotmail.com
Fern Gabriel’s ancestral name is sesmelət which means spunky one, her name was chosen for her by her Aunt (her father’s baby sister). Fern Gabriel was born and raised on q̓ʷa:n̓ƛ̕ən̓ Kwantlen, a thriving First Nations community in Fort Langley, British Columbia, that is also a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking territory, (q̓ʷa:n̓ƛ̕ən̓ means "Tireless Runner"). Fern enrolled in the FNLG program in the year 2000, which restored her confidence in herself as well as put pride back into her culture and heritage. But most importantly, it restored her memory of her grandmother’s teaching, who spoke Halkomelem, which is the upriver dialect. Now Fern enjoys sharing the Aboriginal history, culture, values and traditions as well as the language with many students within the Surrey School District, the largest school district in British Columbia. Fern co-taught the first year university language, hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, with Dr. Patricia Shaw, Elder Larry Grant, and Jill Campbell who were once her teachers, (as well as Dr. Susan Blake) who encouraged Fern in all areas of her life, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually and is forever grateful.
hay ce:p q̓ə, si:y̓ém̓ ʔiʔ tə nə syəyey̓ə. “Thank you all, respected ones and my friends.”
Fern is presently a Tutorial Assistant for the FNLG 301B class on Kwantlen First Nation campus in Fort Langley and exhibits strong support in revitalizing the hənq̓əm̓in̓əm̓ language by speaking the language everyday, even to non-speakers. Therefore, Fern strives to be a unique storyteller by incorporating this endangered language into her oral stories.