WAYK is very excited to announce—after months (and years!) of planning with the host community—that our 2019 Summer Intensive will take place in North Vancouver, British Columbia! This will be WAYK’s 9th summer project with a partner community.

In 2019, we will continue our partnership with Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN). Due to the location and history of the Nation, many Tsleil-Waututh members have two heritage languages, hen̓q̓əmin̓em̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, both Coast Salish languages with very small numbers of speakers. In 2014, when Tsleil-Waututh hosted their first Summer Language Intensive with WAYK, we focused on developing hen̓q̓əmin̓em̓ fluency and curriculum. In 2019 we will be focusing on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim.

WAYK has been partnering with Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s language program since 2013 and this year the Summer Language Intensive will take place on TWN’s land on the Burrard Inlet. TWN’s Department of Culture and Language is strongly supported by the Nation and supplementally funded through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) and the British Columbia Languages Initiative (BCLI). TWN’s language program also collaborates with other entities in the region: Squamish Nation, Simon Fraser University’s Adult Immersion Program, and Kwi Awt Stelmexw. The primary goals of the current project are: (1) to increase the fluency of individual learners, (2) to develop a novice-level curriculum for Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim, and (3) to improve all participant’s WAYK skills while expanding the roster of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim teachers trained in WAYK.

This summer, the WAYK team, including new WAYK interns, will live in the Vancouver area and work with a team of local speakers and learners. The team that comes together in North Vancouver will build on the existing work done over the past several years (including experiences working with both Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and hen̓q̓əmin̓em̓). Over the course of the Summer Intensive (May 17th — August 4th), we hope to achieve several goals that we have developed in cooperation with the TWN team and their collaborators:

  • Building Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim fluency for all program participants: While the summer is not designed as a full immersion program, we will have many immersion sessions and language lessons with the goal that all participants will increase their Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim fluency. We will also be looking at ways to expand the access to language instruction to serve more TWN community members and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim learners.
  • Increased WAYK skills: The TWN language program is committed to creating both new speakers and new teachers at the same time. For this reason, there will be an equally strong emphasis on training all project participants (including interns) in WAYK learning and teaching strategies.
  • Further development of a novice Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim curriculum that is currently in progress: We plan to continue meeting and working with fluent speakers to develop new lessons throughout the summer and share those lessons with learners.

The host communities for past WAYK summer projects have included: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (2011), Yurok Nation (2012), Kodiak Island (2013), Tsleil-Waututh Nation (2014), St. Paul Island (2015), Atka (2016), St. Paul Island (2017), and APIA in Anchorage (2018).

Written by Evan Gardner