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Langara College Refreshes Brand to Integrate Musqueam Name

Today Langara College launched its refreshed brand identity, incorporating the name snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓given to it by the Musqueam people. The name snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ means ‘house of teachings’ in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language and was given to Langara in recognition of the growing relationship between the College and Musqueam, and Langara’s location on Musqueam unceded traditional territory.

“This collaboration is an opportunity to share our culture and language with the broader community. The hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ name can function as a tool for reconciliation, education, and sharing. It’s about acknowledgement, and creating opportunities for deeper understanding of Musqueam people, our presence in this territory, and our ongoing connection to these places we have called home for so many generations,” said Vanessa Campbell of the Musqueam Language Office.

“We are very proud to share our new dual-name identity. Given our campus location on what was once a Musqueam village, it was important for us to honour the gift of the name snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ by fully incorporating it into our institutional identity,” said Lane Trotter, President and CEO, Langara College. “This work is the next step in our continuing relationship with Musqueam, and we hope it will help Indigenous students feel even more welcome on our campus.”

“Langara’s work and engagement with the Musqueam people is truly inspiring. For this to flow through into the core brand identity shows their deep commitment to doing things properly. Langara is ahead of most Canadian brands in taking this huge step forward,” said Rob Newell, VP Brand Strategy at Twice, the brand consultancy firm that worked with Langara to refresh their brand guidelines.

Along with a new set of guidelines and templates, work on the project included commissioning type designer Veronika Burian of TypeTogether to create a character extension for the College’s main font, Adelle, which she designed together with José Scaglione. Veronika worked closely with the Musqueam language office to create the extension. The commission was needed to allow Langara to write its new name, as there are limited fonts available for the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language.

“Type is the visual expression of culture and information which helps to promote diversity and is therefore especially important for minority languages to keep their heritage alive. The language extension for Langara was a fascinating project for us, both conceptually and from a type design point of view. We are thrilled to have contributed to this endeavour,” said Veronika Burian, Co-Founder, TypeTogether.

hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ is the ancestral language of the Musqueam people and is the middle dialect of the Halq̓emeylem, hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Hul̕q̓umin̓um̓ dialect continuum. hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ has 36 consonants, 22 of which are not found in English. Musqueam use the North American Phonetic Alphabet as a tool to write the language and a pronunciation guide for the new Langara name can be found here.

Languages are at the heart of every culture, and it is vital to revitalize and preserve them. The United Nations has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages in an effort to raise awareness and increase appreciation for their importance. Steps to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages were also among the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Original article from Langara College