CONTRIBUTION · 15th December 2010
It was a gathering of generations as students from Uplands Elementary joined adult learners and elders at the Waap Galts’ap (NWCC Community Longhouse) to learn the Tsimshian language, Sm’algyax.
This milestone event marked the first time another school had joined the Sm’algyax class of ‘Na Aksa Gila Kyew Learning Centre (NAGK).
“It was great to see young students learn our language and to see them enjoy themselves playing language games,” said NAGK student, Robert McLeod.
The grade 1 class of Linda Ott, currently being taught by Dani Pigeau, participated in interactive Sm’algyax songs and vocabulary exercises with the NAGK students. This gave the young Uplands students and parents the exciting opportunity to experience the fun and excitement of learning the language of the Territory on which the Community Longhouse is situated.
“This trip was amazing for everyone involved, for myself it was like returning home, surrounded by traditional words spoken by children and elders,” said Uplands teacher Dani Pigeau. “This is just the first step of many, bringing Sm’algyax into the classrooms at the Coast Mountain School District 82. I hope to be part of many more events like this.”
Pigeau noted that one of the students, Kelsyn Bowal, said it was the best trip he'd ever gone on.
At the same time this opportunity gave the NAGK students the invaluable experience of being able to teaching what they had learned in their class thus far.
“This experience has confirmed my belief that the young students, and the mature students are ready to help revitalize the Sm’algyax language,” said Colleen Austin, Teacher at NAGK. “I believe that this proves to the elders that their desire for the language to be spoken in this territory is possible.”