Elder Larry Grant, our Elder-in-Residence at the First Nations House of Learning, is well-known and much appreciated for welcoming students, faculty, staff, and guests to the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam, hən’q’əmin’əm’-speaking people. His words of welcome and teaching not only on the UBC campus, but across the Lower Mainland, bring us back to the times when his Musqueam ancestors qiyəplenəxʷ and xʷəlciməltxʷ, welcomed the first visitors to Coast Salish territory.
They teach us to recognize and respect the Musqueam people, their language, history, culture and self-governance.
They embody the importance of right relationships.
During the early 1900s, Larry’s father, Hong Tim Hing, was one of many market gardeners from Guangdong, China who were hospitably welcomed to live and farm within the Musqueam community despite divisive and restrictive social conditions legislated by the Canadian government through the Indian Reserve system. Important relationships were formed between these farmers and families of the Musqueam Nation.
In the following two videos produced by Chinese Canadian Stories, a UBC initiative dedicated to collecting, digitizing, and sharing Chinese Canadian history, Larry shares an array of experiences being of mixed Chinese and Musqueam ancestry.
“Not quite belonging makes you strive or quit, so we didn’t quit.” –- Elder Larry Grant
“They’re completely Chinese, but their whole life, growing up, is here at Musqueam.”
– Elder Larry Grant
Sarah Ling is an MA student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program. She is passionate about remapping the history of Chinese farming at Musqueam and revitalizing hən’q’əmin’əm’, Musqueam’s ancestral language. She is the co-developer of Decolonizing Knowledge, and co-chaired the Naming and Advisory Committee for həm’ləsəm’ and q’ələχən’ houses at Totem Park Residence, which were named after two culturally and historically significant Musqueam place names.
Elder Larry Grant is of mixed Chinese and Musqueam ancestry. Born on a hop field as a premature baby in Agassiz, B.C., Grant was raised in Musqueam traditional territory. After retiring as a longshoreman, Grant enrolled in the First Nations Language Program at the University of British Columbia to reconnect with his mother’s ancestral language, hən’q’əmin’əm’. Through this transformational process Grant achieved his goal of learning how to welcome people to Musqueam territory using the language, discovered his aptitude for sharing stories, and developed a strong passion for revitalizing hən’q’əmin’əm’.
Today he serves the Musqueam Nation as the Language and Culture Consultant. At the University of British Columbia, Grant plays a key role in educating others about the first peoples who lived here. He is the Elder-in-Residence at the UBC First Nations House of Learning where he welcomes and connects with an array of visitors, students and staff from around the world. He is also an adjunct professor the UBC First Nations Language Program, helping to teach the first-year hən’q’əmin’əm’ language course which is held at the Musqueam reserve.