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Six Nations Polytechnic Celebrates Indigenous Languages Day

conference of people

On March 28, 2024, Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) celebrated Indigenous Languages Day with a daylong conference focusing on the interconnectedness between language and wellness. There were over one hundred in attendance from various Indigenous communities including the local community of Six Nations of the Grand River. The conference was the second of its kind at SNP highlighting the importance of wellness within the language revitalization movement in addition to the overall celebration of our Hodinohsó:ni languages. Statistically, Indigenous populations across the world are more likely to be negatively impacted when it comes to health and well-being. However, the continuance of our traditional ways of life, especially our languages, serves as a protective factor (Whalen et. Al, 2022) and a mark of our resilience. This resilience was evident at the event where the audience had the opportunity to hear all six Hodinohsó:ni languages being spoken in one place, a rarity in today’s climate of language revitalization as all six languages are in varying states of endangerment.

Guest language speakers for the morning and afternoon presentations included Shelby Bomberry and Otsistohkwí:yo Mellisa Elliot while the keynote panel featuring the six Hodinohsó:ni languages included Waayënta Lauren Longboat (Seneca), Colin Benedict (Mohawk), Leroy Hill (Onondaga), Stonehorse Moore (Oneida), Charlene Hemlock (Cayuga), and Christian Burnham (Tuscarora). Additionally, there were breakout sessions in the afternoon focusing on planting, medicines, personal language planning, resources, and storytelling.

“Opportunities to gather and celebrate our original languages is key to the overall success of our efforts in language revitalization as it builds and strengthens the community that is an integral component of our languages. Both the languages and people themselves who are learning or teaching their language need to be celebrated and made to feel a sense of community support. This is always my personal goal for the day every year that we celebrate Indigenous Languages Day, in addition to inspiring more people to learn their language, either with another organization or here at SNP in one of our language programs.”

– Stevie Jonathan, Director - Deyohahá:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre, Six Nations Polytechnic

About Six Nations Polytechnic:

SNP is a unique post-secondary organization, recognized by community, government and institutions of higher learning, as a centre of excellence for Indigenous Knowledge. SNP has 30 years of postsecondary success in partnership with twenty percent of Ontario’s publicly funded universities and colleges. SNP’s mandate of Indigenous Sustainability calls for the perpetual use of Indigenous Knowledge (understood and expressed through language, values and actions) that provides capacity to live in harmony with the natural world, while restoring and maintaining a healthy existence in a nation with diverse citizenship and needs.

Baylee Martin
Communications Officer
(519) 445-0023


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