Language Planning Project
Since 2015, Kwi Awt Stelmexw has been coordinating a community-wide planning process for the revitalization and maintenance of Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim. This project is made possible with the support of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, as part of the Language Revitalization Planning Program.
Understanding Community Needs
The Language Planning Program began with outreach in the community to understand the needs for Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim revitalization. In 2016, Kwi Awt Stelmexw administered the Skwxwú7mesh Language Assessment Survey which asked Squamish Nation members to share their experiences with, and interest in, Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim, and we conducted interviews with some community members who have been involved in language work. We are also working to develop a repository of all Squamish language resources available throughout the community.
Language in the Homes
One of the main findings from the survey and other outreach work is that most people want more Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim in their lives but experience various barriers to attending language classes. That is why for the second year of the Language Revitalization Planning Program, Kwi Awt Stelmexw is focussing on bringing the language into the community through the Language in the Homes Project. For this project we are working directly with families to get more language and resources for language learning into their homes. Find out more here.
25-Year Strategic Action Plan
The other major focus area for the Language Planning Project is bringing Squamish peoples together to work on a developing a 25-Year Strategic Action plan for Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim through a series of community events. In spring 2016, we hosted the Visioning Café for the Squamish Language. This event brought together Squamish Nation members of multiple generations to discuss their vision for the future of Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim. A small working group was then convened to bring all of the ideas together into a draft Vision Statement for Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim.
The Vision Statement is now available for review and feedback online. It is our hope that the majority of Squamish peoples can identify with this statement, and will feel compelled to work towards achieving it, since it will serve as the foundation for the 25-Year Strategic Action Plan. We encourage all Squamish Nation members and others with Squamish ancestry to participate in our brief survey about the Vision Statement here.
In early March 2017, we will be hosting our next community event for strategic language planning. At this event, we will be honouring those who have worked hard for Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim (our language warriors!), and will present the finalized Vision Statement to the community. We will then begin facilitated group work to determine the next steps for turning this vision into a reality. More information coming soon!