SENĆOŦEN Culture

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The W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) people and their neighbours the Malahat First Nation, Esquimalt Nation, Songhees First Nation, T'Sou-ke First Nation, and Semiahmoo First Nation are part of the larger group of cultures often referred to as Central Coast Salish. Central Coast Salish people speak ten different languages, but are closely connected through kinship, shared stories, beliefs, customs, and traditions. Salish groups are recognized as distinct largely on the basis of differences in language. It is important to realize that these linguistic distinctions reflect a classification system imposed on First Nations peoples by ethnologists, anthropologists and others. Although W̱SÁNEĆ people recognize that their language is different from the the neighbouring Northern Straits dialects, and from other nearby languages such as Hul’q’umi’num’, Elders prefer to emphasize the cultural similarities between their communities, pointing to close kinship ties which crosscut linguistic and geographical boundaries