Westbank First Nation (WFN) has announced a new program that will help revitalize the Okanagan language.
Launching on Sept. 30, the online language tutorial series will focus on teaching nsyilxcən. WFN received $100,000 from the First People’s Cultural Council through their Pathways to Language Vitality Program.
The funding helped produce study materials, immersion program, as well as community collaboration.
The program was initially supposed to be an in-person series of classes, but the curriculum was re-worked into an online series as a safety precaution.
WFN councillor Jordan Coble and Okanagan Nation Alliance member Levi Brent co-created the series, spread out over 45 video tutorials.
“Our language is endangered and folks for generations have been working to keep our language, our identity, our source of who we are, alive. As new tools are provided we must adapt to spark the interest of our people to engage with our language and experience the joy it brings,” Coble said.
“We simply hope this resource can help spark your interest by creating a safe space and allow you to control your learning pace, and hopefully have a little fun learning.”
Students of the course can go through the material at their own pace and they will always have access to the lessons and other learning resources.
The course is open to anyone who wants to learn and revitalize nsyilxcən, including Syilx Nation members, as well as guests.
The website will also feature information on the nsyilxcən language, other language learning opportunities and additional sources.
The Syilx Language House and En’owkin Centre both offer language courses. UBCO, in partnership with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and En’owkin Centre, is now offering a four-year Bachelor of nsyilxcən Language Fluency program.