FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 23, 2018
Dän Kʼe Kwänjē Ghäkenīdän: We are Learning Our Language
Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction) – Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) is proud to announce the launch of our new adult Dákwänjē (Southern Tutchone) language immersion program.
“This is one of the most important endeavors the Champagne and Aishihik people will ever undertake. We are committed to having a successful program to teach our people Dákwänjè,” said Dän Nätthe Ada Kaaxnox (Chief Steve Smith). “The students will have a critical and important role in maintaining who we are as a people.”
“We are encouraging all our CAFN dän (people) who are serious about learning and practicing dän k’e (our way – our language and culture) to apply for this program. This is a critical time in our history. Our Elders are getting older and we need our younger generations to learn our language. We need our people to speak our language so we can fully transfer our customs and ways of life to the generations that follow,” said Dän Nätthe Ada Kaaxnox.
The program is a full-time, intensive two-year course rooted in hands-on, experiential learning. Classes will run from September to June each school year, with the first group of students graduating in 2020. The program is based at Da Kų Cultural Centre in Haines Junction, but students will also practice the language on the land and through traditional activities, where it is most meaningful.
“Dän k’e is Champagne and Aishihik First Nations top priority. When we have a strong foundation in our language and culture, the benefits radiate to everything we do and to every aspect of our lives,” said Dän Nätthe Ada Kaaxnox. “Our language is who we are. It gives us our unique identity that links us to our ancestors and to our land.”
Khâsha, a CAFN Citizen and language teacher, has developed the curriculum and will also be one of the instructors. Work to create the program began in 2017 has been carried out in close consultation with Elders and other Dákwänjē language experts.
The Dákwänje adult language immersion program is open to applicants today. CAFN Citizens are invited to apply for one of 10 seats in the program by June 1, 2018. The application package is available on the CAFN website at CAFN.ca/dakwanje-immersion-program .
For more information: