Initiatives to preserve Wolastoqey language to get a raise from new language platform

Initiatives to preserve Wolastoqey language to get a raise from new language platform

A new on-line plan known as Wiciw — this means “collectively with” — is being developed to support continue to keep the Wolastoqey language from disappearing.

The Maliseet 1st Nation of Madawaska in Edmundston and the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk To start with Nation in Cacouna, Que., are functioning with a research group from the Université de Moncton campus in Edmundston.

The workforce, acknowledged as Sqotesol, received $165,000 in funding from Heritage Canada below a federal Indigenous languages and tradition program and will permit for the improvement of the system, in accordance to the team’s internet site.

In accordance to its website, sqotesol means embers in Wolastoqey, to “simply call consideration to the will need, or even the urgency, to act in purchase to protect against reduction … A single ember is all it requires is the Sqotesol slogan.”

There are about 93 fluent Wolastoqey speakers remaining, lots of of them in New Brunswick, in accordance to Larry Jenniss, common supervisor of Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Country, located around 129 kilometres northwest of Edmundston. 

“If we do not want our language to get extinguished, we have to do one thing now,” explained Jenniss.

Children play with toys in a classroom.
Young children at Kehkimin immersion college play with toys, and while they do, they talk the Wolastoqey language. (Ann Paul/CBC)

Wolastoqi people are distribute out throughout Quebec, New Brunswick and the U.S., he mentioned, and in his property community people mostly converse French, while other Initially Nations communities converse largely English. 

This adds to the complexity of striving to understand and understand the Wolastoqey language, he said, and is why the on the internet studying system will be readily available in each English and French to any person and will be cost-free.

“What we’re seeking to do is to revive that language, retain it alive,” mentioned Jenniss. “The digital applications that are heading to be made is a way to make confident that we don’t get rid of what has been transmitted” from the elders.

Operating to revive the language

There are a amount on ongoing initiatives to protect the Wolastoqey language.

In 2022, Kehkimin, an immersion faculty, opened in Fredericton. Also final yr, Neqotkuk To start with Nation, also regarded as Tobique, in northwestern New Brunswick, announced that Wolastoqey would become the community’s official language.

“In most indigenous communities or nations, language is tied to the territory … it was born there. To better comprehend and truly feel what it means to be Wolastoqiyik, it truly is fundamentally the language. It really is what connects us with our ancestors,” he stated.

Jenniss explained that he will be using the Wolastoqey language studying assistance when it is out there since, like several others, he only knows a number of words and phrases of the language.

“In essence, we have a few beginner degree speakers, but not a whole lot of folks that can fluently communicate.”

A man in a camouflage sweater smiles. His dark brown hair is in a ponytail and he has a beard. He stands outside in a forest, near a brook.
Louis-Xavier Aubin-Bérubé is a electronic material and lesson creator for the Wiciw mastering system. (Submitted by Louis-Xavier Aubin-Bérubé)

There are a number of persons on the website’s design crew, including Louis-Xavier Aubin-Bérubé, just one of the digital lesson creators for Wiciw, along with his sister, Lisa-Maude Aubin-Bérubé. Allan Tremblay and Roseanne Clark are fluent speakers who will lend their knowledge to the job.

Louis-Xavier said the objective is to create a pleasurable and participating studying system. There are some tools obtainable now to men and women, this sort of as a Wolastoqey dictionary, but this is a different way for men and women from all around to entry the language.

“People are really wanting for a little something like this for the reason that we do not have considerably,” he stated.

Louis-Xavier teaches at the Wolastoqey language immersion school in Fredericton.

He graduated from the St. Thomas University Maliseet Language Plan, but continue to considers himself a university student of the language. He knows more than some, and he teaches youthful little ones basic principles.

Louis-Xavier wishes he was fluent since his lifetime intention is to someday be equipped to instruct his have small children.

“My language is a missing part of me. So each term, each individual phrase, is just actually vital for me.”

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