W̱JOȽEȽP, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF W̱SÁNEĆ NATION / BRENTWOOD BAY, B.C. – Indigenous News – In a momentous celebration of Indigenous heritage and linguistic revitalization, the Qualicum First Nation stands as a beacon of inspiration. The First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) extends its heartfelt commendations to the Qualicum First Nation for their extraordinary efforts in reviving the pentl’ach language, which had remained dormant since the 1940s. This milestone marks a pivotal chapter in the cultural tapestry, as pentl’ach is now officially recognized by the Province as the 35th First Nations language in British Columbia.
An Historic Inclusion in B.C. Languages
The addition of the pentl’ach language to the list of B.C. First Nations languages is a testament to regulatory changes that encompass all B.C. First Nations languages. This initiative falls under the legislation that gave rise to the FPCC, an organization dedicated to bolstering the resurgence of First Nations languages, arts, and heritage in British Columbia.
Years of Dedication and Collaboration
The journey to resurrect the pentl’ach language commenced in 2017 for the Qualicum First Nation, characterized by unwavering dedication and collaborative synergy. These endeavors encompassed extensive archival research, community engagement, and partnerships with instrumental entities such as the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, the University of Victoria, and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. One of the initial milestones achieved by the language team was the development of a writing system for pentl’ach.
FPCC’s Pivotal Support for Language Revitalization
The FPCC’s Language Revitalization Planning Program played a pivotal role in bolstering the pentl’ach language revival initiative. The program empowered the pentl’ach language team to formulate a comprehensive language restoration plan. This comprehensive plan entailed evaluating the present status of the language, crafting a project timeline, engaging with the community, and assembling an inventory of accessible materials for future reference.
A Model for Language Resurgence
The approach adopted by the Qualicum First Nation serves as a guiding model for other First Nations communities aspiring to rekindle dormant languages. The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, in concert with linguists, played a vital role in providing expertise to support these communities in their quest for language revitalization. Furthermore, the Department of Canadian Heritage allocated funding to the FPCC, fortifying their capacity to sustain their collaboration with First Nations communities.
Words of Commendation
Tracey Herbert, CEO of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, lauded the Qualicum First Nation’s achievements, stating, “This is a wonderful example of what is possible when language revitalization is supported by leadership in communities. Everyone at FPCC is honored to support the efforts of the Qualicum Nation.”
Chief Michael Recalma of the Qualicum First Nation emphasized the significance of pentl’ach, saying, “pentl’ach is a vital part of our culture and our identity.”
Honourable Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, commended the Qualicum First Nation’s resilience and the role of the FPCC in shaping a vibrant future for First Nations’ languages in the province.
Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, highlighted the importance of supporting Indigenous communities in revitalizing their languages.
Dr. Lorna Wánosts’a7 Williams, Chair of the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation, expressed gratitude for the Qualicum First Nation’s dedication and strength in reawakening the pentl’ach language.
This groundbreaking project received funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation.