The Stó:lō language is Halq'emeylem [hal qwe MAY lem]. The word "Stó:lō" itself means "river" or "people of the river". This is important as the Stó:lō culture and economy are dependent on the river and the surrounding territory. The Stó:lō differentiate between xwelmexw (those who speak Halq'emeylem) and lats'umexw (those who do not). This is a reflection of the close ties between the Stó:lō and their relatives, as well as an indication of a sense of collective identity. Supporting relationships with xwelmexw contributes towards the success of cultural spirituality and history.

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