Knowledge of nłeʔkepmxcín has slowly eroded largely because of the Residential School experience. Many generations of the Nlaka’pamux people have lost the ability to speak the language fluently.
The team selected to revitalize the language of the Nlaka’pamux communities consists of William Sandy and Lena Nicholson. This team is responsible for developing and promoting the curriculum to CNA Members as well as online through CAN-8 language learning software. The developed resources enables the learner to both see a visual as well as listen to a recording of an nłeʔkepmxcín speaker. These resources allow for for exposure of both written words and pronunciation. The learner can then record their own voice and compare it with the speaker’s voice using the CAN-8 software.
In addition to words and phrases, the curriculum also includes stories, songs, and other cultural teachings emphasizing the oral aspect of the language. The process of developing this resource will continue indefinitely. The goal is to bring Elders and fluent speakers together to talk about nłeʔkepmxcín to revive forgotten words and “invent” new ones to expand the dictionary.
The team also provides support for traditional and land based learning activities. Finally, to use new and unique ways to improve language retention while encouraging community members to join in this exciting new journey will allow the language to be revitalized.
“To maintain or renew a language is a never-ending task since each generation has the potential to either transmit the language or let the language die. It is only the speakers of the language who can save it and who either care enough to pass it on or decide to let it pass away.”