Understanding Secwepemc bird talk

Ignace, Marianne
Ignace, Ronald

In the Shuswap language, Secwepemctsin, birds' talk to humans, and humans' talk to birds, is part of interacting with the land, the plants, animals, and the world around us, what we call Secwepemcúl'ecw. To a small extent, Interior Salish "bird talk"  has been documented linguistically. However, beyond disciplines, and accounting not only for linguistic form but also for ecological interactions, we provide an account here of how Secwepemc bird talk operates on a variety of levels: 1) we hear bird talk on the phonological level - what language is "read" into bird song or "bird talk" that is translated into how Secwepemc speakers  relate to such bird talk around phonetic/phonolgical and prosodic paradigms in a given language, 2) how were/are these translated and transliterated into human messages around representing lines of "character speech" or memorable lines, and moreover, 3) what ecological messages do such bird talk lines give us, and what knowledge can we draw from these - within and across the issues that face indigenous communities?