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Indigenous languages featured at The Exploration Place

How many of us in BC can say “hello” in the language of the people on whose traditional territory we live, work and play?

Hadih is the traditional way to say hello in the Lheidli T’enneh dialect of Dakelh. You might find yourself expanding your vocabulary — and appreciation for the state of Indigenous languages spoken in B.C. — after visiting The Exploration Place to view the Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC
travelling exhibition and in-house exhibit Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh.

Learn what First Nations communities throughout the province are doing to help 34 different languages survive and flourish, in Our Living Languages, a beautifully designed exhibition from the Royal BC Museum and First Peoples’ Cultural Council that celebrates the resilience and diversity of Indigenous languages in the face of change.

“As part of reconciliation efforts, stimulating and facilitating the connection to Indigenous language is a roll we are embracing,” said Museum Curator, Alyssa Leier. “As part of our efforts to help preserve an increasingly endangered language, we are working on several initiatives including working with the Lheidli T’enneh on the digitization of a large collection of oral histories spoken in the Lheidli dialect of Dakelh. These are invaluable sources of cultural knowledge and it is critical that they are preserved. This exhibit showcases this kind of work and the urgency it requires.”

Languages, especially the languages we grow up with, are powerful and potent markers of identity and culture. B.C., one of the planet’s most linguistically diverse regions, is known as a linguistic “hotspot” because of the diversity and vitality of the First Nations languages in BC.

Through interactive stations, video and audio, Our Living Languages provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the history of disrupted languages in BC, the complexity of these languages, and the people, 
and entire communities, that are working tirelessly to document and revitalize them.

The original exhibition of the same name was developed in partnership with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and is a permanent fixture on the 3rd floor of the Royal BC Museum, in Victoria.

The travelling exhibition runs from September 15 to January 6th, 2020 at The Exploration Place – an excellent opportunity to honour UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019. The Exploration Place’s in-house exhibit titled Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh showcases one Lheidli T’enneh Elder’s commitment to language revitalization. Mary believed that preserving the Lheidli T’enneh culture started with language revitalization and was instrumental in the recovery and documentation of the written and spoken Lheidli T’enneh dialect of Dakelh.

Visitors to this exhibit will learn about Mary’s commitment to language revitalization, her work within Prince George and surrounding areas as an ambassador for her community, and her deep love and devotion to her family.
This in-house exhibit will also be open from September 15 to January 6th, 2020.

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