Have you ever wondered “How To Learn an Indigenous Language?” Join us next Thursday, February 4, for an evening discussion on this question with esteemed speakers Gabriel George Sr. (Tsleil-waututh), Dakota Brant (Mohawk), and Aaron Williams (Squamish), moderated by Khelsilem. While Indigenous languages all over the world are in decline, many Indigenous people are being proactive in the struggle for Indigenous language revitalization.
This event is being hosted in partnership with Kwi Awt Stelmexw, a group that creates nation (re)building champions within the Squamish Peoples through strengthening all aspects of our heritage, language, culture, and art. It is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to serve the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Peoples) and build relationships with others to support the cultural and artistic aspirations of our people.
Gabriel George Sr. is a səl̓il̓wət from sʔəθnəc. He currently works for his Tsleil-Waututh Nation as the Manager of the Culture & Language Program. George is a second-language speaker and learner of downriver Halkomelem – one of the two Coast Salish languages of Vancouver.
Dakota Brant is a Mohawk from Six Nations. She is a former Miss Indian World, community planner, and language student at Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa, the Mohawk-only language school founded in the Six Nations community in Ontario. Brant is a second-language speaker of Mohawk.
Aaron Williams is a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh from Eslhá7an. He is currently completing a Master-Apprentice Program, where an apprentice speaker is paired with a master fluent speaker to complete 300 hours of immersion over 6 months, with fluent speakers Vanessa Campbell and Dr. Peter Jacobs in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) language – one of two Coast Salish languages of Vancouver. Aaron Williams grew up speaking Squamish in his home raised by his grandmother until he was ten and returned to learning the language as an adult.
Khelsilem will be the moderator for this special speaking event. Khelsilem is the lead instructor with the 2016-2017 adult immersion program with Kwi Awt Stelmexw being offered in partnership with Simon Fraser University. He currently is a speaker of and learning three Indigenous languages.