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E₭ÁTEL - We are all connected, Global and Local Glimpses of Language Revitalization

April 10, 2023

Dr. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams speaking during an Indigneous Language Revitalization event held at First Peoples House in April 2023.

On April 3 & 4, 2023, the Indigenous Education department and Dr. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams, Chair of First People’s Culture Council, hosted E₭ÁTEL - We are all connected, Global and Local Glimpses of Language Revitalization (UVic and Beyond).

The event provided insights into some of the current and historical Language Revitalization initiatives and programs at UVIC, (including a new Indigenous Language Revitalization degree program) as well as highlighted work across the province and internationally. The event culminated in the launch of a beautiful film by UATE filmmakers.

The name, E₭ÁTEL means “we are all connected” in the local language of SENCOTEN, and was gifted to conference organizers from W̱SÁNEC language champions PENÁC and SX̱EDTELISIYE.

Day one - event recap

The first day of the program heard from Dr. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams, a foundational leader in Language Revitalization, Order of Canada recipient and past Director of Indigenous Education, who provided grounding context of the event and the history of the ILR movement, past and present.

Dr. Suzanne Gessner, of First People’s Culture Council, gave a presentation on the status of First Nations languages in BC, Russell Myers Ross, Yunesit’in former Chief and graduate of the Indigenous Governance Master’s program, presented the story and history of Tsilhqot’in language revitalization, and Dr. Laita Pallares, from Soziolinguistika Klusterra Research Centre presented on the context and methods of Euskara (Basque language) revitalization.

We invite you to watch the Zoom recording from Day 1 on YouTube.

Day two - event recap

The second day saw an introduction by UVic President Dr. Kevin Hall and a presentation on the multi-year ILR adult learning grant, NEȾOLṈEW̱ from Dr. Onowa McIvor and Dr. Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins. A beautiful story and songs of SENĆOŦEN revitalization were shared by SX̱EDŦELISIYE & PENAW̱EN, who are SENĆOŦEN instructors, teachers, UVic graduates and W̱SÁNEĆ community partners.

Another highlight of the second day was the launch of the beautiful film, Illuminating Hidden Impacts of Language Revitalization. This cinematically rich and visually beautiful short film created by talented filmmakers Erynne Gilpin and KI Peruzzo looks back through 10 years of Indigenous Language Revitalization at UVic within the Vancouver Island language communities and seeks to explore hidden impacts from the perspectives of participants and former students. The project took place during the heat of the pandemic, and the filmmakers created safe opportunities for sharing stories and providing glimpses of lives, goals and journeys affected by UVic community-based programming.

We invite you to watch the 20-minute video on YouTube and help us celebrate the accomplishments of our students by sharing it within your community!

Many thanks to Dr. Lorna Williams, Aliki Marinakis and Jasdeep Randhawa who co-organized the event, and to Perry Plewes, Colleen Juricic and Pam Bevan for technical and administrative support.