New theme song
written in Chinook, an early common language of trade in the area
Team B.C. will be arriving at the North American
Indigenous Games in style with a brand new theme song to drum up
enthusiasm and energy.
After a provincewide competition, the team's new anthem, composed
by William Wasden Jr. from the Kwakwa_ka_'wakw Nation, was revealed
just days before 2017 games, which begin Sunday and run through
"The song is steady and upbeat and is meant to be used for celebrating
and uplifting spirit," said Wasden.
"In our Kwakwa_ka_'wakw tradition, these social songs are beautiful,
simple tunes that can easily be taught, so everyone is able to participate
and fully enjoy the spirit of the song."
Wasden calls his traditional tune Yehalilayha, from the Chinook
Chinook was used as an early, common language to facilitate
trade and negotiations among many Indigenous communities.
Wasden Jr. of the Kwakwa_ka_'wakw Nation is the composer of
Yehalilayha, the new theme song for Team B.C. at the North
American Indigenous Games. (Team B.C.)
British Columbia has the most diverse Indigenous population
in Canada, with 198 distinct recognized cultures and some still
seeking recognition from the Canadian government.
According to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, of the
country's 11 unique Indigenous language families, seven exist exclusively
custom-made Team B.C. traditional drums were designed and
built by David Fierro of North Vancouver. (Team B.C.)
"I composed the song in the spirit of inclusion and bringing
as many Indigenous cultures from B.C. together," said Wasden.
The lyrics of the song describe the beautiful rivers and land.
"[It] represents the spirit and passion of our athletes and
coaches," said Lara Mussell, Team B.C.'s chef de mission.
"Our new theme song will further unify us as a team."
Yehalilayha will be beat out on custom traditional drums, complete
with the Team B.C. logo of a soaring raven and sun.
The drums were built and designed by North Vancouver's David
The entire team of 545 athletes and coaches will learn the song
at a pep rally led by Wasden before Yehalilayha has its live premiere
in Toronto at Sunday's opening ceremonies and athletes' parade.
Team officials said it will be used at all future Team B.C.
Lyrics to Yehalilayha
- Hyas = beautiful.
- Chuck = rivers.
- Ilahee = land.
- Hyas tilicum = Nations.
Yehyes-saya-a-a-chu-huk (Our beautiful rivers)
Yehali-lahi-i-i-yeha ni-sa-ai-kaya-heya (This land is ours)
Hyas ti-li-i-i-cum ni-sa-ai ka-a-a-a (Our beautiful nations)