Thursday, April 17, 2014

CENTRE NEWS

March 2012

Mohawk Youth Explore Culture, Language, Tradition and Effective Governance

NCFNG in partnership with the Mohawk communities of Akwesasne, Kahnawake and Kanesatake hosted a two day Youth forum in Montreal on Culture Traditions and Effective Governance. With the theme of the forum on language hunting, fifty-one, language dedicated Mohawk emergent leaders, gathered together for language hunting. Sxwchálten X̱elsílem Tłaḵwasik̓a̱n (Dustin Rivers), a Squamish language revitalization activist, introduced the group to a new language fluency game called “Where Are Your Keys?”  This technique allows for the quickest, most fun and easiest way to transfer knowledge of language from one person to another.

The open space discussions revealed that the youth are committed to keeping their language strong and they identified a variety of steps necessary to accomplish this goal. One immediate outcome was the creation of a Facebook group “Keeping the Kanien’kéha language Strong” that already has 285 active members speaking fluently.  One evening, a Mohawk traditional social was organized by the youth. The activity allowed for storytelling and for the youth to network with each other and practice their responsibility as keepers of the language through their songs and dances.  and encouraged discussions of nation rebuilding between the communities. This is a first gathering of many. The youth spoke of inviting other Mohawk communities to participate in future events. They invited each other to upcoming community events. This is the continuation of building healthy relationships by doing cultural activities.