The dedicated work of eight B.C. First Nations in preserving traditional languages was recognized at the First Nations Languages Conference, held in Vancouver July 9 and 10.
The “language champions” for 2011 were recognized at the bi-annual conference, co-hosted by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council.
Those chosen were: Verna Williams from Nisga’a Nation, Gracie John from Saik’uz First Nation, Clara Camille from Canoe Creek Band, Stephen Brown from Old Massett Band, Cecilia DeRose from Esketemc First Nation, Kathy Robinson from Tseshaht First Nation, Evelyn Windsor from Heiltsuk Nation and the late Earl Claxton Sr. from Tsawout First Nation.
“They are a truly inspiring group of people who have dedicated their lives to keeping their languages alive for the next generation of speakers. We must continue to support their work,” said Tracey Herbert from the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council, in a press release.
Angel Sampson, who attended the conference, said that communities need this support to revive the languages that are in danger of dying out.
“We need technology, Elders who speak the languages fluently, and the younger people who have the will to keep doing the necessary work at keeping our languages alive,” said Sampson.