WHAT WE DO
Most experts would agree that the majority of first nations languages in Canada and in-particular British Columbia would be classified on the EGIDS as:
The only remaining active users of the language are members of the grandparent generation and older.
8b: Nearly Extinct
The only remaining users of the language are members of the grandparent generation or older who have little opportunity to use the language.
We seek to help interrupt the slide of First Nations languages towards dormancy or extinction by providing a language community with any capacity they may be lacking to carry out their language goals: grant writing, fundraising, linguist and planning resources, technology, methodology and training in all of the tools used to carry on their work with the goal of relying ever less on third party contractors.
Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS) Lewis, M. Paul and Gary F. Simons. 2010.
Assessing endangerment: Expanding Fishman's GIDS
The importance of Indigenous language revitalization has entered mainstream public discourse in recent years, including the 2019 tabling of the Indigenous Languages Act, the subsequent national consultation process and appointments of the new Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages in 2021. However, though language capture projects have been routinely occurring in communities, they have primarily been conducted using a colonial, Eurocentric approach, which is one systemic practice that our programs seek to alter. Our conversations with community members from Haisla and other Nations have highlighted that communities are seeking to take ownership of their own language revitalization projects (highlighted for example by the newly created Haisla Language and Culture Authority Group and the priorities within Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ Strategic Plan), by creating sustainable programs grounded in Indigenous worldviews and training their own members to lead language instruction efforts. Our programs are situated within the larger push from First Nations communities to return to true self-governance and self- determination, indicative of a broader effort to change deeply entrenched colonial systems across the country.
We aim to address the issue of language and culture loss by collaborating with community members to challenge historical and contemporary valuations of Indigenous languages as ‘less than’, to ensure community ownership, to record languages from a First Nations-centric perspective rather than a colonial Eurocentric approach, and to introduce an interactive online platform that will serve as the basis for sustainable language revitalization (including engaging younger learners). Though we are aware that the systemic pressures reinforcing Indigenous language loss are deeply entrenched, we are confident that our programs will address root causes of Indigenous language loss by ensuring community ownership and prioritization of language revitalization, disrupting colonial approaches to language archiving, challenging preferences for English, and providing avenues to link younger learners and Elders. By enhancing cultural identity and pride in speaking Indigenous languages (in contrast to residential schools), we aim to ensure sustainable growth of community-driven digital platforms and language transmission in the years to come.
Team Haisla - 2021/2022
From Left to Right: Jocelyn Harris, Charles Murphy, Dustin Gaucher, Megan Metz, Kailee Gardner, Larry Hayashi, Scott Jeary, Jonathan Janzen, Liz Robinson, Even (find last name)
Absent: Teresa Windsor, Ab Morrison-Hayward, Kim Hayashi