Transcript: Ontario Hubs: Reviving Lost Languages | Nov 22, 2019

Jeyan sits in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and burgundy tie.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario Hubs: Reviving lost languages. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. @theagenda."

Jeyan says LEARNING THE LANGUAGE
OF YOUR FAMILY AND ANCESTORS CAN
BUILD POWERFUL CONNECTIONS
ACROSS TIME AND SPACE.
THAT'S PARTICULARLY TRUE WHEN
THOSE LANGUAGES FACED NEAR
EXTINCTION.
EDUCATOR IAN MCCALLUM AND OUR
ONTARIO HUBS JOURNALIST SHELBY
LISK HAVE BOTH EMBARKED ON A
COURSE OF SUCH LEARNING.
FOR MCCALLUM THAT'S LUNAAPE.
FOR LISK, IT'S MOHAWK.
AND THEY'VE BOTH WRITTEN ABOUT
IT FOR TVO.ORG.
WITH US NOW FOR MORE, IN OUR
STUDIO AT CARLTON UNIVERSITY IN
OTTAWA: SHELBY LISK, HEAD OF OUR
ONTARIO HUB THAT COVERS
INDIGENOUS ISSUES.

Shelby is in her twenties, with long auburn hair. She's wearing glasses and a yellow sweater.

Jeyan continues AND HERE IN OUR STUDIO,
IAN MCCALLUM, WHO IS A MUNSEE
LANGUAGE TEACHER AND A PHD
STUDENT AT OISE, THE ONTARIO
INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES IN
EDUCATION.

Ian is in his early thirties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing a blue shirt.

Jeyan continues WELCOME BOTH.

Ian says THANK YOU.

Shelby says THANK YOU.

Jeyan says SO YOU GUYS ARE BOTH
LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF YOUR
ANCESTRY.
IAN, I'M GOING TO START WITH
YOU.
LUNAAPE IS ENDANGERED WITH ONLY
A FEW PEOPLE SPEAKING IT.
HOW ARE YOU LEARNING THE
LANGUAGE?

The caption changes to "Ian McCallum. Indigenous Language Educator."
Then, it changes again to "Words of my youth. @IanMcCallum3."

Ian says I'M LEARNING A COUPLE OF
WAYS.
I LEARN IT WITH A FELLOW TEACHER
BACK ON MY COMMUNITY, MUNSEE
DELL BARE
DELAWARE, BUT I TAKE IT UPON
MYSELF TO CREATE A DICTIONARY
AND USE RESOURCES THAT WOULD BE
HELPFUL FOR MY COMMUNITY, AND I
POST THINGS ON TWITTER, SO I'M
USING THE LANGUAGE DAILY WHILE
I'M TRYING TO SUPPORT PERHAPS
OFF-RESERVE MEMBERS WHO WANT TO
ACCESS THE LANGUAGE AS WELL.
IT'S LIKE A DAILY USAGE BY
CREATING THOSE SORT OF PHRASES
THAT ARE PUT OUT ON SOCIAL
MEDIA.

Jeyan says I WANT TO CLARIFY,
LUNAAPE AND MUNSEE,
INTERCHANGEABLE?

Ian says THEY ARE.
SO MUNSEE I THINK WAS THE OLDER
TERM FOR THE LANGUAGE, AND
LUNAAPE IS MORE RESPECTFUL IN
TERMS OF USING THE LUNAAPE
LANGUAGE TO DESCRIBE THE ACTUAL
LANGUAGE.

Jeyan says ALL RIGHT, SHELBY, YOU
ARE LEARNING MOHAWK.
HOW ARE YOU FINDING IT?

A screenshot from the TVO website pops up showing an article. It reads "tvo.org/OntarioHubs. Indigenous. What learning Mohawk has taught me about not fitting in. By Shelby Lisk."

The caption changes to "Shelby Lisk. Journalist, Indigenous Issues."

Shelby says YEAH, SO IT'S BEEN AN
INTERESTING EXPERIENCE.
I'M IN A CLASS IN MY HOME
COMMUNITY, WHICH IS TYENDINAGA
AND I'M THREE SEMESTERS INTO
A COURSE THAT I'M TAKING THERE,
BUT JUST LIKE IAN WAS SAYING,
IF YOU DON'T USE THE LANGUAGE
EVERYDAY IT'S REALLY CHALLENGING
TO REMEMBER IT, AND SO BEING...
LIVING IN OTTAWA, THREE HOURS
AWAY FROM MY COMMUNITY, THERE'S
NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE TO SPEAK TO.
I HAVEN'T MET ANY MOHAWK PEOPLE
HERE THAT I CAN PRACTICE WITH,
SO THAT HAS BEEN REALLY
CHALLENGING

Jeyan says I'M GOING TO FOLLOW UP
WITH THAT, WITH SO FEW PEOPLE
PRACTISING IT, NOT LIVING ON THE
RESERVE, HOW DO YOU PERFECT THE
LANGUAGE THEN?

The caption changes to "Shelby Lisk, @shelbyliskphoto."

Shelby says UMM, I WILL GET BACK TO YOU
WHEN I FIGURE THAT OUT.
[Laughter]
FOR ME, I THINK THAT
EVERYBODY... I'VE TALKED TO
OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE LEARNING
MOHAWK, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO
LEARN IT, YOUNG PEOPLE
ESPECIALLY, ACTUALLY BECOME
LANGUAGE TEACHERS, AND I THINK
THAT'S HOW THEY KEEP IT ALIVE.
BUT UNLESS PEOPLE IN YOUR FAMILY
SPEAK IT REALLY, IT'S REALLY
DIFFICULT.
THERE'S NOT A LOT OF PLACES I
CAN GO TO HEAR THE LANGUAGE.
PRETTY MUCH MY LANGUAGE CLASS OR
IF I GO TO CEREMONY, IF I GO TO
LONGHOUSE IN MY COMMUNITY.
THOSE ARE KIND OF THE TWO PLACES
WHERE I CAN REALLY HEAR MY
LANGUAGE.
THAT'S DEFINITELY BEEN
DIFFICULT.
MY PARTNER'S BEEN REALLY
SUPPORTIVE.
HE IS NOT INDIGENOUS, BUT HE'S
TAKING CLASSES WITH ME AS WELL,
SO I'M HOPING THAT WITH HIM
DOING THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO
SPEAK TOGETHER AND I'LL BE ABLE
TO LEARN IT A BIT BETTER.

Jeyan says IAN, I'M GOING TO ASK
YOU, YOU LIVE IN TORONTO PART
TIME AND YOU ALSO GET TO THE
RESERVE ONCE A MONTH, SO HOW ARE
YOU ABLE TO KIND OF PROTECT THE
LANGUAGE THERE?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Ian says IN THE POWER OF MODERN
TECHNOLOGIES.
YOU CAN SKYPE WITH THOSE BACK
HOME WHO CAN SPEAK.
WE ALSO HAVE A LOT OF PHONE
CALLS.
THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT OF TEXTING
GOING BACK AND FORTH.
I'M THINKING OF USING THIS WORD,
IS THIS CORRECT IN THIS
SITUATION, AND WE SORT OF HAVE A
WHOLE DIALOGUE THERE.
BUT IT'S BEING ACTIVE.
IF GROUPS OR ORGANIZATIONS WANT
TRANSLATIONS DONE, IT'S ALMOST
THE VERY BEST WAY TO SORT OF
MOBILIZE THE COMMUNITY SPEAKERS
THAT WE HAVE TO REALLY START TO
TALK ABOUT HOW WORDS SHOULD BE
CREATED OR IF WHAT WE'RE TRYING
TO SAY IS APPROPRIATE.
SO IT'S SORT OF A USE IT OR LOSE
IT, RIGHT, AND TO MEET UP WITH
PEOPLE AND TO TALK WITH THEM IN
ANY SORT OF FORM IS IMPORTANT.

Jeyan says SHELBY, HOW DOES
LEARNING YOUR LANGUAGE HELP YOU
UNDERSTAND OR GET A BETTER
UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR ANCESTORS
AND THE STORIES THAT YOU LEARN?

The caption changes to "Unlocking culture and history."

Shelby says YEAH, THAT'S ACTUALLY ONE OF
MY FAVOURITE PARTS OF LEARNING
THE LANGUAGE.
I'M ALWAYS THE PERSON IN CLASS
WHO'S ASKING, OKAY, THAT'S THE
WORD, THAT'S HOW YOU SAY IT, BUT
PULL IT APART FOR ME.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
A LOT OF OUR WORDS ARE VERY OLD
AND THEY DO GIVE A LOT OF
CONTEXT TO HOW OUR ANCESTORS
LIVED.
SO I REMEMBER LEARNING THE
WORD... MY TEACHER WAS TALKING
ABOUT ONE OF THE WORDS THAT WE
HAVE FOR RAIN AND IT HAS THE
SAME ROOT AS THE WORD THAT WE
USE FOR LOVE, WHICH IS... AND IT
MEANS THAT IT'S PRECIOUS.
AND TO ME THAT'S AN EXAMPLE OF,
YOU KNOW, IN ENGLISH WE WOULD
SAY IT'S A RAINY DAY.
IT'S KIND OF, YOU KNOW, A CRUMMY
DAY OUTSIDE, BUT IN... YOU CAN'T
SAY THAT.
BECAUSE YOU'RE SAYING THAT THIS
RAIN IS PRECIOUS.
SO I JUST THINK THAT GIVES YOU
SO MUCH PERSPECTIVE ON THE
CULTURE.

Jeyan says IAN, YOU TALK ABOUT
KIND OF USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO
KIND OF REVIVE THE LANGUAGE.
TELL ME ABOUT THAT INITIATIVE.
HOW ARE YOU ACTIVELY TRYING TO
REVIVE LUNAAPE?

Ian says IT STARTED AT THE BEGINNING
OF THIS YEAR WHERE I WAS PUTTING
OUT PHRASES.
I THOUGHT I'D PUT OUT VOCABULARY
WORDS THAT WOULD HELP LANGUAGE
CLASSES BACK AT HOME, BUT I ALSO
THOUGHT ABOUT OFF-RESERVE
MEMBERS WHO LIVE QUITE A
DISTANCE FROM THE COMMUNITY,
LIKE MYSELF, WHO MIGHT BE ABLE
TO ACCESS AND THEN SORT OF BUILD
THEIR VOCABULARY ON A DAILY
BASIS.
I'M LOOKING FOR WAYS TO SORT OF
EXPAND THAT INTO OTHER MODES
BECAUSE, OF COURSE, I'VE GOT
GOOD FEEDBACK FROM PEOPLE WHO
LIVE OFF-COMMUNITY THAT THIS IS
A WONDERFUL WAY WHERE THEY FEEL
LIKE THEY'RE A PART AND THEY
FEEL LIKE THEY'RE CONNECTED BACK
TO THEIR COMMUNITY, CONNECTED TO
THE LAND.
SO AS SHELBY SAID, WITH
DIFFERENT WORDS THAT CAN BE USED
WHEN YOU'RE ON COMMUNITY, CAN
YOU USE THEM OFF-RESERVE?
CAN YOU USE THEM IN A SOCIAL
MEDIA CONTEXT WITHOUT THAT
PERSON ACTUALLY BEING THERE?
AND AN EXAMPLE WOULD BE BECAUSE
WE'RE IN STUDIO TOGETHER, I
COULD SAY... WHICH MEANS IT'S
GOOD TO SEE YOU.
HOWEVER, IF I'M ON THE PHONE, I
CAN'T USE THAT.
BUT COULD WE USE IT ON SKYPE?
AND THAT'S THAT WHOLE DIALOGUE
WHERE WE GET THE PEOPLE TALKING
ABOUT IS THERE A BETTER WAY WE
CAN SAY IT.

Jeyan says VERY INTERESTING.
NOW BOTH OF YOU GUYS HAVE YOUR
ARTICLES ON tvo.org.
NOW tvo.org HAS BEGUN
TRANSLATING INDIGENOUS STORIES
INTO INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES.
I WANT TO PULL UP A BOARD.
HERE IS WHAT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
GRAHAM BAYLISS WROTE ABOUT THE
INITIATIVE...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Indigenous language translation at TVO.org." The quote reads "In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued 94 calls to action. One of them states that 'Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.' TVO shares this view. That is why we are embarking on a new initiative. For the past several weeks, we have been working to develop a network of Indigenous translators. We hope to expand this network in the coming months. Canada brought about the endangerment of these languages. Canadians, working together with Indigenous communities, must do what they can to protect them."
Quoted from Graeme Bayliss, Editor-in-Chief. October 18, 2019.

Jeyan says AND YOU CAN READ THE
FULL EDITOR'S NOTE ON OUR
WEBSITE tvo.org.
I'M GOING TO OPEN THIS QUESTION
UP TO BOTH OF YOU.
I WANT TO START WITH IAN.
DO YOU SHARE THIS SENTIMENT?

The caption changes to "Inclusive communications."

Ian says ABSOLUTELY.
COMING FROM A LANGUAGE GROUP
WHERE THERE'S VERY FEW OF US
LEFT, THERE'S A NEED IMMEDIATE,
THERE'S AN IMMEDIACY TO MAKING
SURE THIS LANGUAGE SURVIVES FOR
MY OWN CHILDREN, SO WHATEVER CAN
BE DONE FOR THE MOST PART IT HAS
TO BE DONE BY THE COMMUNITY WITH
OUTSIDE ACCESS TO RESOURCES TO
MAKE SURE THIS HAPPENS.

Jeyan says SHELBY?

Shelby says YEAH, I... PERSONALLY I FEEL
LIKE CANADIANS SHOULD BE ANGRY
THAT THEY DON'T LEARN INDIGENOUS
LANGUAGES IN SCHOOL.
I THINK THAT THEY SHOULD BE
APPALLED THAT INDIGENOUS
LANGUAGES ARE NOT OUR OFFICIAL
LANGUAGES IN CANADA, AND I THINK
THAT, YOU KNOW, INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE CAN'T DO THIS ENTIRELY ON
THEIR OWN.
AND SO WE DO REALLY NEED
SUPPORT, AND I THINK THAT
CANADIANS NEED TO REALIZE HOW
DIRE IT IS, YOU KNOW, THAT SOME
OF THESE LANGUAGES COULD BE
LOST, LOSS OF ENTIRE WORLD VIEW
AND ENTIRE CULTURE.

Jeyan says NOW YOU HAD YOUR...
ONE OF YOUR ARTICLES ON tvo.org,
YOUR FIRST ARTICLE, TRANSLATED.
HOW DID IT FEEL TO SEE YOUR
ARTICLE IN MOHAWK?

Shelby says IT WAS REALLY WONDERFUL.
I TRIED TO READ IT, AND I'M SUCH
A BEGINNER LEARNER THAT I
COULDN'T READ A LOT OF IT, BUT
IT WAS REALLY GREAT, AND THE
PERSON WHO TRANSLATED IT WAS
ACTUALLY AN ELDER WHO HAD COME
TO OUR LANGUAGE CLASS BEFORE, SO
IT WAS JUST A REALLY NICE
PERSONAL CONNECTION FOR ME AS
WELL.

Jeyan says NOW, IAN, YOU HAD
ACTUALLY QUITE A UNIQUE
EXPERIENCE WITH THIS BECAUSE NOT
ONLY DID YOU WRITE THE ARTICLE
BUT YOU ALSO TRANSLATED IT.
WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?

A screenshot from the TVO website pops up showing an article. It reads "tvo.org/OntarioHubs. Indigenous. Why Lunaapeew must be passed down to the next generation. By Ian McCallum."

The article then appears written in Lunaapeew.

Ian says IT'S QUITE TIRING.
I FIND THAT WHEN YOU WRITE IN
ENGLISH THE TRANSLATION DOESN'T
GO VERY SMOOTHLY INTO LUNAAPE OR
MUNSEE.
YOU NEED TO THINK IT OUTSIDE OF
BEING IN AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN
ORDER FOR THE LUNAAPE TO WORK.
SO YOU'RE ALMOST CHALLENGING
YOURSELF TO THINK IN A LUNAAPE
WAY TO WRITE ENGLISH, WHICH IS
VERY COMPLEX, AND I FIND THAT
TRANSLATING YOU GET VERY TIRED.
AND OF COURSE WHEREAS YOU HAVE
AN EDITOR FOR YOUR ENGLISH
LANGUAGE WORK, I HAVE EDITORS
FOR MY MUNSEE LANGUAGE WORK.
IT'S A VERY TIME CONSUMING AT
TIMES TIRING PROCEDURE.
BUT VERY WELL WORTH IT.

Jeyan says WELL, IT'S VERY, VERY
EXCITING STUFF.
I HAVE ONE LAST QUESTION.
HOW DO YOU SAY "THANK YOU" IN
LUNAAPE?

Ian says Aniishiik.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Jeyan says WELL, THANK YOU SO
MUCH FOR COMING ON THE SHOW.
SHELBY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
COMING ON THE SHOW.
THAT IS IAN MCCALLUM, HE IS AN
INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE EDUCATOR AND
SHELBY LISK, OUR ONTARIO HUBS
JOURNALIST COVERING INDIGENOUS
ISSUES. THANK YOU GUYS.

Ian says Aniishiik.

Shelby says Yaawaa.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs. Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman.

Watch: Ontario Hubs: Reviving Lost Languages