Dah Dzāhge Nodesidē/We Are Speaking Our Language Again

The Implementation of a Community-Based Tāłtān Language Reclamation Framework

Authors

  • Edōsdi/Judy Thompson Department of Indigenous Education, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18357/kula.137

Keywords:

Indigenous language revitalization, Indigenous language reclamation, Tahltan, Tāłtān, language planning, language framework

Abstract

As a member of the Tahltan Nation, I carried out research that centred on community experiences of language reclamation. The investigation focused on how language reclamation is connected to health and healing, as well as what has been done and what still needs to be done to revitalize and reclaim the Tahltan language. Language reclamation is the start of a process in which our people heal from the impacts of colonization and assimilation by reclaiming our language, culture, and identity, thereby allowing our voices to become stronger and healthier. From what was learned from community co-researchers, scholars who have worked with our communities, Indigenous community language revitalization experts, and international language revitalization scholars, I developed a Tāłtān Language Reclamation Framework focusing on governance; language programming; documentation; training and professional development; and resiliency, healing, and well-being. This report will discuss the ways in which this framework has been implemented in community over the last decade, highlighting examples such as the formation of a language governing body, Dah Dẕāhge Nodeside (Tahltan Language Reclamation Council); the implementation of language nests; the development of a Tāłtān language school K–8 curriculum; the creation of learning materials based on old and new recordings of first language speakers (e.g., digital apps and videos, websites, alphabet book, grammar resources); post-secondary fluency/proficiency community programming; and documentation training. Finally, we continue to focus on the relationship between language reclamation, intergenerational trauma, and healing, resiliency, and well-being. This will be done through community-based immersive programming that focuses on the nurturing of relationships with first language speakers in order to create not only learning resources, but safe and supportive environments for all speakersーlearners, second language speakers, silent speakers, and first language speakers.

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Author Biography

Edōsdi/Judy Thompson, Department of Indigenous Education, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria

Edōsdi (Dr. Judy Thompson) is a member of the Tahltan Nation and was born and raised in La̱x Kxeen (Prince Rupert, BC) on Ts’msyen territory. She is a trained elementary school teacher and been teaching at the post-secondary level for over 25 years. Over the last three decades, she has been learning the Tāłtān language, knowledge, and wisdom and ways of knowing from Tahltan Elders. From 2012-2019, Edōsdi served as the Language Reclamation Director for her nation where she developed and implemented a Tāłtān language reclamation framework and managed a team of passionate individuals with a shared vision of creating more speakers. The framework guided the work of the team to develop learning materials and create safe and supportive environments for Tāłtān learners and speakers to become more proficient in the language. In 2018, based on her language revitalization work for her people, Edōsdi received the Distinguished Academic – Early in Career Award from the Canadian University Faculty Associations of British Columbia. In the role of mentor and advisor, she continues to guide the implementation of the community-based Tāłtān language reclamation framework. Edōsdi is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria. In 2020 she was named a 3M National Teaching Fellow, Canada’s most prestigious award for excellence in leadership and teaching.

References

Amrhein, Hannah, Suzanne Gessner, Tracey Herbert, Xway’ Waat (Deanna Daniels), Megan Lappi, Doug Hamilton-Evans, and Alex Wadsworth. 2010. Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages 2010. Brentwood Bay, BC: First Peoples’ Cultural Council. http://www.fpcc.ca/files/PDF/2010-report-on-the-status-of-bc-first-nations-languages.pdf. Archived at: https://perma.cc/846R-TJNV.

Dennis, Odelia. 2020. “Tahltan Word Formation: Considerations for Creating New Words in Tāłtān.” Master’s thesis, University of Victoria. http://hdl.handle.net/1828/11874.

Dennis, Oscar. 2012. “Tahlton Language Lessons.” https://didenekeh.com. Archived at: https://perma.cc/82E3-HAVR.

Dennis, Oscar. 2014. “How I Learned the Language: The Pedagogical Structure of the Tāłtān Language.” Master’s thesis, University of Northern British Columbia. https://doi.org/10.24124/2015/bpgub1037.

Dennis, Oscar. 2016a. De’eda es-li’e Tedegēt. Tahltan Language Conservation Initiative Project. iBooks.

Dennis, Oscar. 2016b. The Tahltan Pronoun. Tahltan Language Conservation Initiative Project. iBooks.

Edōsdi/Thompson, Judith C. 2012. “Hedekeyeh Hots’ih Kāhidi – ‘Our Ancestors Are in Us’: Strengthening Our Voices Through Language Revitalization from a Tahltan Worldview.” PhD diss., University of Victoria. http://hdl.handle.net/1828/4213.

Edōsdi/Thompson, Judith C. 2018. “Tahltan Voiceability: A Language Revitalization Research Journey Guided by Tahltan Voice.” Collaborative Anthropologies 11 (1): 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1353/cla.2018.0003.

Edōsdi/Thompson, Judith C. 2019. “Indigenous Languages Raise Us All Up.” Filmed October 5, 2019 in Prince George, BC. TEDxUNBC video, Theme: “Past the Future,” 12:59. https://youtu.be/wz9N_XjtFpo.

Edōsdi/Thompson, Judith C., ed. 2017. Dah Dẕāhge Esigits: We Write Our Language. Penticton, BC: Theytus Books.

Edōsdi/Thompson, Judith C., and Michael Bourquin, producers. 2016. Dah Dẕāhge Nodes̱idē: We Are Speaking Our Language Again. Directed by Michael Bourquin. Dease Lake, BC: People of the Tahltan Nation. https://vimeo.com/217095185.

Edōsdi/Thompson, Judith C., Gileh/Odelia Dennis, and Shāwekāw/Patricia Louie. 2018. “Researching, Planning, and the Implementation of Tāłtān Language Nests: Sharing our Experiences.” Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry 10 (2): 64–84. https://doi.org/10.18733/cpi29446.

Gessner, Suzanne, Tracey Herbert, Britt Thorburn, Aliana Parker and Alex Wadsworth. 2014. Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages 2014. 2nd ed. Brentwood Bay, BC: First Peoples’ Cultural Council. http://www.fpcc.ca/files/PDF/Language/FPCC-LanguageReport-141016-WEB.pdf. Archived at: https://perma.cc/26AV-KKY7.

Morris, Kāshā/Julie A. 2017. “K’asba’e T’oh: Sustaining the Intergenerational Transmission of Tāłtān.” Master’s thesis, University of Victoria. http://dspace.library.uvic.ca//handle/1828/8544.

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Published

2021-06-23

How to Cite

Thompson, Edōsdi/Judy. 2021. “Dah Dzāhge Nodesidē/We Are Speaking Our Language Again: The Implementation of a Community-Based Tāłtān Language Reclamation Framework”. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 5 (1). https://doi.org/10.18357/kula.137.