That’s the traditional way to say 'hello' in the Lheidli T’enneh dialect of Dakelh.
But how many people who live, work, and play on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh know that, or can pronounce that?
The Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre in Prince George is opening two new exhibits that will help visitors expand their vocabularies and appreciate the state of Indigenous languages.
Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in B.C. is a travelling exhibition and will be shown alongside the in-house exhibit Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh.
In Our Living Languages, visitors can learn what First Nations communities throughout the province are doing to help 34 different languages survive and flourish.
The exhibit, put together by the Royal B.C. Museum and First Peoples’ Cultural Council 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,” says Museum Curator, Alyssa Leier in a news release. “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.”
B.C. is one of the planet’s most linguistically diverse regions and is known as a linguistic “hotspot” because of the diversity and vitality of the First Nations languages in the province.
Through interactive stations, video and audio, Our Living Languages provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the history of disrupted languages in B.C., the complexity of these languages, and the people– and entire communities–that are working tirelessly to document and revitalize them.
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.
Both the travelling and in-house exhibition will run from Sept. 15 to Jan. 6, 2020 at The Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre (333 Becott Pl.).