Thanks to Jenny Shen at The McGill Tribune for featuring us as well as many amazing indigenous language activists from Canada in this fresh-off-the-press article on revitalizing First Nations languages in Canada. We are proud to be part of the world-wide movement to bring awareness to these important issues. This article is a follow-up to the panel discussion on indigenous languages that we recently organized at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montreal.
This panel took place at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word on Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) territory at the MAI in Montreal, Quebec, on Nov. 9th 2013. It featured distinguished indigenous language activists, poets and scholars. They drew from First Nations oral traditions, spoken word and linguistics to discuss and celebrate indigenous languages in Canada. Panelists explored current threats that their languages face, and presented examples of community education initiatives that are underway to stop language extinction by engaging new generations of speakers. Among many topics, oral transmission, writing systems, phonetics, digital art forms and new media were discussed.
We wish to extend a big thank you to everyone involved in this event! Thank you to the MAI, to the Festival, and to the Festival Director Moe Clark, to everyone who attended, and to everyone who gave presentations. We would like to emphasize how amazing it was to hear all of the panelists’ stories. It is so important to hear about their experiences and approaches to language conservation and revitalization directly from the language warriors themselves. Miigwech.
From left to right: Melody McKiver (Anishnaabe), Vera Wabegijig (Anishnaabe), Anna Luisa Daigneault (Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages), Jacques Newashish (Atikamekw). Photo by Leonor Daigneault.
From left to right: Chelsea Vowel (Plains Cree), Kahtehrón:ni Iris Stacey (Mohawk), Leith Mahkewa (Oneida / Hopi / Mohawk), Manon Tremblay (Muskeg Lake Cree), Louise Halfe Sky Dancer (Cree). Photo by Leonor Daigneault.
For more details on this panel, and for bios on all of the participants, please see our event page:
Living Tongues project coordinator Anna Luisa Daigneault recently wrote an article about Nuu-chah-nulth language revitalization efforts on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. View the full article here. Image above: Kathy Robinson is a language warrior. At the age of 81, she is one of the last two fluent native speakers of Tseshaht (pronounced “tsi-sha-aht”), a language once popularly spoken on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The Tseshaht people are one of 14 Nations that make up the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.