Awil'gola: Kwakwala revitalization for cultural continuity and community health promotion for the Namgis First Nation in British Columbia, Canada.

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2017-03-03
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Newman, Vera
Cranmer, Barb
Brown RN, Helen
Isaac, Trevor
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Newman, Vera
Cranmer, Barb
Brown RN, Helen
Isaac, Trevor
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Kwakwala for the Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, British Columbia, Canada has been endangered as a constant companion of historical and ongoing colonialism that eradicates Indigenous identity, knowledge systems and culture. Within a community-academic partnership research program, the revitalization of our Kwakwala language is being undertaken and studied as part of a larger project focusing on cultural continuity, social well-being and community health promotion. Through Kwakwala immersion camps, recording Kwakwala baby songs, creating the Dzunukwa legend DVD, translating children’s storybooks into Kwakwala and regalia making events, we, the Namgis people, are coming to together in the spirit of Awil’gola, wherein the translation means “being together” to foster connection and community. Being together to learn, read, listen to and speak Kwakwala creates Awil'gola; the making of spaces and places that are fostering, revitalizing and helping to document traditional knowledge and language practices that are critical for the health of Indigenous people around the globe and within our community. In this presentation, we share our language and legends that are our teachers, sing our entrance song in regalia and the research findings focused on Kwakwala revitalization, cultural continuity and preserving our knowledge systems and language practices. We conclude by sharing our future goals to develop new and innovative ways to ensure our language will thrive.
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