2,000 Hours to transform into an Intermediate Speaker
The Syilx Language House learning and documentation project builds upon years of advocacy and grassroots revitalization work in the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation, and creates a unique collaboration between Syilx Nation governments, partner organizations, and community members to create and support a language house for young adult learners. The activities in the language house will be two-fold, addressing the two greatest language needs in our Nation: training new speakers; and documenting and archiving our remaining speakers.
Envisioning a Future of Speakers and Teachers
Imagine a meeting in one of our member communities four years from now in 2019—there is an ongoing land title discussion in the court system and someone is needed who can speak to the land-based messages embedded in our captíkʷł story system in order to prove rights and title within unceded Syilx territory. A young, well-dressed, articulate woman steps up, a recent graduate of the Syilx Language House. She is 25 years old and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Indigenous governance and law while studying in the language house. She says, “I am able to do this.”
During her time in the Language House she learned to speak Nsyilxcn at a mid-intermediate level, record and transcribe Elders, archive materials, become a language advocate and spokesperson for language, and become intimately connected with Syilx story systems and deeply embedded language-based truths.
kʷu kł sqiʔs. We have a dream.
It is our dream that this story will be brought to life with the language tools being taught to our students today.