A new SENĆOŦEN concordance was appear in 2018 afterwards decades of assignment to bottle and construe the Coast Salish language. (Liz McArthur – angel credit)
Eric Pelkey hears the catechism constantly: how do you accent WSÁNEĆ?
The association assurance coordinator for the south Vancouver Island First Nation isn’t alone.
“I’ve announced to a lot of people, a lot of communities aural our territories, and we assume to be cogent them the aforementioned things over and over again,” Pelkey told CBC On The Island host Gregor Craigie.
So the WSÁNEĆ Leadership Council is ablution an online initiative, alleged “Resource for Settlers,” to brainwash the accessible about the region’s Indigenous accent and culture.
The website includes admonition on territorial acknowledgements, recommended account and video resources.
But best important for Pelkey, there’s a adviser on how to accent the actual acreage that First Nations allotment with settlers.
“We like to advance the actual accentuation of our people’s names, the abode names aural our territory,” he says, acquainted a continued history of accent exclusion.
“That’s absolutely area the name Saanich came from. Settlers couldn’t accent W̱SÁNEĆ, so they afflicted it to Saanich.”
More than a aeon of colonization and residential academy behavior accept taken a assessment on the WSÁNEĆ language, SENĆOŦEN.
SENĆOŦEN is one of the Coast Salish accumulation of languages that is accounting in a mainly upper-case alphabet, abnormally created by a association affiliate in the 1970s to accurate the syllabic subtleties.
Today, there are beneath than a dozen chatty speakers, and aloof over 100 semi-fluent speakers.
But over the accomplished decade the First Nation has active the language, publishing a concordance and establishing classes for members.
Pelkey says accretion assets to the non-Indigenous accessible isn’t apprenticed by frustration, but by 18-carat demand.
“There is a accepted ache out there for ability about our bodies and language,” he says.
Pelkey cites the action to rename Mount Douglas to PKOLS as a atom for accessible interest. But he says he’s additionally accustomed inquiries about WSÁNEĆ accent and ability from tourists, and from analytical bodies as far abroad as Germany and Japan.
He says elders accept led this initiative, not aloof as an educational resource, but as addition footfall against reconciliation.
“I’ve apparent a lot of racism, you know, and I feel now bodies are acceptable added accomplished and knowledgeable,” Pelkey said.
“It creates a bigger compassionate amid us, about what we’ve absolutely lost, and area we’d like to go as a people.”
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