language

Nawalakw means “Supernatural” in kwak̓wala, the language spoken in this territory for thousands of years.

This geography cradles our origin stories that trace back millennia. We are a people of the land who both harvest from and protect one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems.

Language plays a critical role in our culture and way of life. Nawalakw represents medicine for our people, and a deep connection to the values taught by our ancestors about how to live and thrive, in unity with nature and with each other.

From traditional harvesting and language practices, to songs, stories and the creation and preservation of regalia and art, Nawalakw will bring healing to our people, and allow us to share in the beauty of our people, our land and our culture with others.

Our aim is to ensure our language and culture is thriving for generations to come.

Our Ninog̱ad, Wise Ones

We honour our ni’nog̱ad, and ni’nox̱sola, our treasured Musǥa̱makw Dzawada̱ʼenux̱w wise ones that guide our work at Nawalakw and who give of themselves selflessly and support our programs including the language and culture camps, language programs as Kwak’wala teachers and mentors in our culture. We are grateful for each of them.

Kwa̱nkwa̱nkwilagedzi Wakas

Kwa̱nkwa̱nkwilagedzi Wakas

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph

G̱wikilakw

G̱wikilakw

Margaret Wilson

Tła̱lila̱wikw

Tła̱lila̱wikw

Pauline Alfred

w̓alas g̱wa'ya̱m

w̓alas g̱wa'ya̱m

Chief Richard Dawson

Language Team

ikawegi'lakw Deanna Nicolson

ikawegi'lakw Deanna Nicolson

Language Programs, Project Coordinator

ḵaminawadzi Pewi Alfred

ḵaminawadzi Pewi Alfred

Language Program Manager

k'wak'wabalas Gloria Hunt

k'wak'wabalas Gloria Hunt

Langauge Program Supervisor

Gayax̱a̱lasa̱me' Darryll Dawson

Gayax̱a̱lasa̱me' Darryll Dawson

Language Program Leader

bak̕wa̱mk̓ala resources

We are all on this kwak̓wala journey together. Our goal is kwak̓wala fluency across all generations. As we work to increase our proficiency and strive for fluency, we will continue to connect with language speakers, programs, projects, and activities within our territories and lead by our people. Here are a few to explore.

FirstVoices

FirstVoices is an online space for Indigenous communities to share and promote language, oral culture and linguistic history. Language teams work with elders to curate and upload audio recordings, dictionaries, songs and stories. This content is shared with community members or the broader public.

FirstVoices provides technology, training and technical support to community language champions. You can even download the kwak̓wala keyboard for PC or Mac or the app to your smartphone!

U’mista Cultural Centre

U’mista is one of the longest-operating cultural facilities in BC. It was founded in the early 80’s to return potlatch artifacts that had been seized by the government during decades of cultural repression.

U’mista now operates a modern museum and cultural facility in ‘Yalis, Alert Bay, BC. Their operations include the museum, an extensive art gallery and gift shop, group tours, and presentations by dance troupes. The facility hosts international scholars, and supports researchers in a range of disciplines.

First Peoples’ Cultural Council

The mandate of FPCC is to assist B.C. First Nations in their efforts to revitalize their languages, arts, cultures and heritage. FPCC provides language, culture, and arts funding through a variety of process each year.

FPCC is committed to providing communities with a high level of support and resources. Our cultural heritage and the living expression of our identities, is integral to the health of all members of our Indigenous communities, as well as to the well-being of all British Columbians.