Nuxalk Nation

A website dedicated to Nuxalk community

Ethnic identity can be defined in many different ways. Some people, in a misguided way, define it as essentially based on physiology. In other words, they think it’s rooted in genetics. Others view ethnic identity based on culture or shared history. Others, who are looking for a more formal and more immutable or rooted definition, tend to focus on language affiliation.

Keep in mind that just because two people speak the same language doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re part of the same cultural group. Especially if one person simply acquired that language and actually speaks another language as his or her primary tongue. With that said, indigenous languages, both in Canada and in the greater part of North America, are under a tremendous amount of stress. In fact, it would be fair to say that these indigenous languages are under assault.

It’s easy to see where the assault is coming from because you only need to turn on a TV and tap through mobile apps, or log on to the internet. There is a tremendous language-based assault, especially on young children, and it’s no surprise that a lot of indigenous languages all over the United States and other places around the world are quickly dying out. There are many Native American languages in America, for example, that are on their last legs because their remaining speakers are in their 80s. In fact, a lot of anthropologists are in a race against time to record as many of these 9 languages as possible before they’re gone for good.

The Nuxalk language,

as beautiful and as compelling as it is

I don’t mean to present this article in a very alarmist mode, but there’s really no other way to do it. I don’t think I have much of a choice. You see, the Nuxalk language, as beautiful and as compelling as it is, suffers from the same problems as other Native American languages. It really all boils down to whether the younger generation would be receptive to this language.

To keep it alive, the best strategy is to write it down and compose kid-friendly literature in the Nuxalk language. In other words, nurture them from an early age, or from day zero not only to appreciate their language, but actually to use it as part of their daily activities as well. The more rooted it is in day to day activities, the higher the likelihood that people won’t forget it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that people would speak it fluently, but we would take whatever we can get. Considering the huge amount of threat native languages is under, that is quite a victory.

Speak it. Write it. Convert it into many different media forms. There are just so many ways to keep our mother tongue alive. The key is to foster a very encouraging environment so people from all over the world can share the same resources and encourage each other to keep our common bond alive. You have a role to play. Visit our site and keep coming back to keep abreast of news and views and other resources and references.