Koosen Pielle is a young mother of two in the Tla’amin nation. She has been involved in language revitalization for going on 7 years. She specializes and has a passion for audio , and getting a “Word of the day” started for CKTZ radio (funded by CRFC Radiometres) was a natural next step in language revitalization. “Language needs to be embedded in every part of our lives… it’s an emergency now, to regulate it as much as possible and to decolonize our ear holes! Especially while we still have the resource people that we do have” Koosen says. Koosen has included elders from the Klahoose community in the word of the day she created. She’s also included singers from both the Tla’amin nation, Klahoose Nation, and the settler community for background music. “Culture is something we all have in common, it unites us and it brings all generations together…and that is when the real magic happens…when intergenerational learning is a possibility”. Koosen expresses her love for community radio because it is “a means of oral teachings”.
The ʔayʔaǰuθəm speaking people live among four communities: ɬəʔamɛn, komox, xʷɛmaɬkʷu, & ƛohos. Our people are considered to be the most Northern Coast Salish group. The Salish sea has been our highway to connecting to each other since time immemorial. We are all interconnected, related, and share the same stories and taʔow.
Our four communities agreed to work together to produce a resource that can be used by all of our people. We are indebted to our elders who are now gone, and the present elders we are working with. They have been very generous to give their knowledge and time. We raise our hands to all of them for their dedication, knowledge, and patience. Our people want to honor the memory of our ƛaχƛaχay (elders) that previously held vast tracks of knowledge throughout the traditional territory, and lived according to our taʔow.
This ʔayʔaǰuθəm dictionary is a work in progress and is being developed in partnership with Dr. Henry Davis, of UBC.
We will continue to work to breath life into ʔayʔaǰuθəm, as language and culture brings healing and pride back to our people.
Co Producer Jacqueline Mathieu
Co-producer Jacqueline Mathieu is the Daughter of Emma Yvonne Louie and Pierre Mathieu. Her Grandparents are John Louie, Emma Hill and Laurier Mathieu , Jacqueline Lamire. She belongs to the Klahoose First Nation on Cortes Island Originating in Toba Inlet. Jacqueline writes:
“I am Currently working in Language preservation and Cultural revitalization within my community as well as a liaison between Klahoose and the Cortes island radio specifically working on the Deep Roots Project. Without my ancestors I would not be doing the good work I do, my people motivate me. With my work in the Deep Roots project I would love to see more Indigenous writers telling indigenous stories. Our main mandate with my work in Deep Roots is to ensure authenticity and I know our team of writers and editors will make my dream a reality.“
When Koosen isn’t working on radio, she is involved in many other projects in the community, including building an e-dictionary for language learners, facilitating the blanket exercise, training to be a language teacher, and of course raising little language learners! This type of work has enabled Koosen to work with all ages of people, from youth-elders. She will be a facilitator for an upcoming youth media camp in Klahoose. “I want our youth to feel empowered to share our stories, to share our truth, language, songs, culture…all of it matters so much. We are in a time now where we no longer have to hang our heads for being Indigenous…we can be proud of who we are and where we come from…that is everything!”