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A little bit more about Happy Friends – ‘Iiyus Siiye’yu and those involved


  Happy Friends – ‘Iiyus Siiye’yu was founded by Stephanie Peter and Janette (Jan) Bruce. It was and is their hope that the songs on the two CD’s continue to be embraced by people from all cultures who consider this area on southeastern Vancouver Island as home, and that the sharing of music and stories remain a tie, connecting cultures in unity and friendship. Stephanie and Jan are both passionate about helping keep the Hul’q’umi’num’ language alive, as it was nearly wiped out due to colonization and in particular, the effects of residential schools. Please share and enjoy these songs in your homes, classrooms, vehicles and wherever your paths take you. 


  We would like to raise our hands in acknowledging the contributors who form the ‘Iiyus Siiye’yu - Happy Friends group. Without their support, talents, and volunteer hours this music and movement program would not have been possible.

Huy tseep q'u siiem!

Original Concept by: Stephanie Peter and Janette (Jan) Bruce.
Hul’q’umi’num’ Language Advisors: Violet George, Philomena Pagaduan-Williams, Sally Hart, & Merle Seymour, with input from Edgar Rice, Rob George, Gloria Peter (Clooney), Laureen Charlie & Stuart Pagaduan.
Name of the group developed with help from: Myra Charlie. 
Huy tseep q'u to The Cowichan Tribes Treaty Office Elders Advisory Committee, Ron George, and Graham Bruce for all the encouragement and support when we first started this initiative. We are also grateful for the enthusiastic assistance that the late Wendy Erickson gave us in starting the original parent and tot program.  


Some songs are public domain songs that were adapted, while others were written by members of the Happy Friends - “Iiyus Siiye’yu group with feedback from our Hul’q’umi’num’ language advisors.

Songwriters & contributors include: Stephanie Peter, Janette (Jan) Bruce, Edgar Rice, Sally Hart, Denise Augustine, Natalie Johnny, Merle Seymour, and Hannah MacLeod.

Musicians: Harry Williams, Zak Cohen, and Denise Augustine, with contributions by Michele Nichols, Hannah MacLeod, Stephanie Peter, Lynnea Bruce & Janette Bruce.


Lead Vocals: Stephanie Peter, Merle Seymour, Edgar Rice, Sally Hart, Janette (Jan) Bruce, Mena Pagaduan, Violet George, Dana Corbett, Hannah MacLeod, and Harry Williams. Additional thanks to Paul O'Brien for allowing us to adapt his song "Light The Way" on CD#2.

Children's Vocals: Chloe Bruce, Holly Bruce, Ella Charlie, Crysta Charlie, Hannah Cohen, Micheal Daniels, Kennedy Grant, Sosefina Grant, Gracie Joe, Trayton Joe, Natalie Johnny, Olivia Johnny, Mary Elizabeth Kirkness, Autumn Marston, Jasmin Marston, Angel Smith, Corinna Sylvester, & Liam Sylvester. 

CD covers and insert concepts by Janette Bruce with Graphic Design by Nancy George (cd1) & Dale Laterneau (cd2).

Recorded at Woodshop Recording Studio, Duncan, BC. Engineered & mixed by

Zak Cohen


Resource Guide/curriculum book: Janette (Jan) Bruce with contributions by Stephanie Peter and the Happy Friends group. Edited by Sally Hart.


Photography: Ashley Marston, Janette Bruce, Lynnea Bruce, Jason Horn, & Linda Hicks.


Coast Salish Artwork: Stuart Pagaduan

Special Thanks to Glenda Atcheson and her Pre-school class at Queen of Angels Catholic School and Heather Joe & the children at Le’lumelh preschool/daycare (photos and 2012 videos) as well as family and friends for being photographed.


Thanks also to Darla Weepatook Smith and the students and staff at Quw’utsun Smuneem for participating in the videos filmed in February 2020.


The songs and program were developed with the utmost respect for the Hul’q’umi’num’ language and the S-ul’hween (Elders) who have passed the language down from generation to generation. There may be some discrepancies in pronunciation and spelling due to the uniqueness of this language, diversity of different villages and the fact that many of the Happy Friends group were in various stages of language learning. Also, when the language is sung rather than spoken, some sounds can be affected by vowel elongation and by glottal strength. 

Special Thanks to our funding partners The 2008 North American Indigenous Games, Aboriginal Success by 6 and to School District 79 Cowichan for distributing resource materials, our cd's, and for encouraging the use of our songs in classrooms across the district.

Project coordinator & website creator: Janette (Jan) Bruce

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