We are delighted to welcome 4 new team members to the 2019 Summer Language Intensive in North Vancouver, British Columbia. These visitors, and the project as a whole, are able to join us thanks to the generous support of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, our partner for this year’s Summer Language Intensive.

Years of planning have gone into getting ready for our second summer working with Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Department of Language and Culture! We first partnered on a SLI in 2014 with a focus on hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and this year we are excited to return and focus on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim. We are grateful to have visitors joining the team for the summer, and we are thrilled to introduce them! We know they each bring their own expertise, experience, and perspectives with them to the project, and that together they will go above and beyond to support the efforts of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language team gathered at Tsleil-Waututh Nation this summer. We are also looking forward to sharing WAYK with our new team and hearing their insights and suggestions.

This summer we have two new WAYK interns: Simone Catanach and Jenna Hassan. 

Simone Catanach

Simone hails from the Pueblo of Pojoaque in Northern New Mexico, which is where she was first introduced to the WAYK method after it was brought to her community by her brother/former WAYK intern Samuel Catanach in an effort to help revitalize Pojoaque’s own heritage language, Tewa. Her interest in WAYK grew after working as an assistant teacher during a summer program that used the method to teach Tewa to the youth of Pojoaque, which in turn inspired her to apply as an intern for the 2019 Summer Intensive.

Jenna Hassan (twitter: @writinisrightin instagram: @jenna_nhassan )

Born in Ontario, raised in British Columbia, and currently living in the Netherlands, Jenna is not one to sit still. After graduating with a B.A in Linguistics and finishing a teaching role in France she decided to pursue a research M.A. in Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. She became more passionate about language revitalization during her undergraduate degree and was encouraged to apply to WAYK by WAYK Alum Erin McGarvey and her bachelor thesis advisor. Jenna is thrilled to be able to work alongside the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations this summer on whose land she grew up. 

This summer we are lucky enough to have two returning interns: Robyn Giffen and Josh Higginbotham. Robyn has joined us for three previous summers in Alaska working with Unangam Tunuu and you may have read about some of her WAYK experiences on the blog over the last several years. Josh joined WAYK for our first summer with TWN in 2014, and traveled to Kodiak in the summer of 2015 as part of a WAYK immersion house pilot for Alutiiq. We are thrilled to have both Robyn & Josh back this summer!

Robyn Giffen (twitter: @robynlgiffen)

Robyn, a 4-time WAYK intern, lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She has a Master’s degree in linguistic anthropology and has spent the last four years teaching linguistic anthropology courses at UBC’s Okanagan campus. She first encountered WAYK in 2014 and has worked with WAYK as an intern in St. Paul, Alaska in the summer of 2015, in Atka, Alaska in 2016, and Anchorage, Alaska in 2018 on the Unangam Tunuu project! Robyn is very excited to be part of the project in Vancouver, BC so close to her home this year!

Josh Higginbotham (twitter: @higginhcp

Josh has been a public high school teacher in Oklahoma City for thirteen years, teaching classes daily in Latin, Greek, German and Philosophy. His brain was set ablaze by WAYK (Evan Gardner held the lighter!) in 2013, and he hasn’t slept since. He likes to say that “WAYK completely destroyed most of what I was doing as a teacher and as a student; I’ve been grateful for it every day since.” He has found few other things in life as meaningful to him as his experiences with language revitalization and the friendships he’s made along the way. 

The 2019 Summer Language Intensive is now up and running. We hope to share updates and insights from our 2019 team throughout the summer and into the fall. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram!

Written by Evan Gardner