Splats’in elders Marie David (left)

Splats’in elders Marie David (left)

Elders share Shuswap language

The Shuswap culture is being passed on to future generations in the Enderby area.

The Shuswap culture is being passed on to future generations in the Enderby area.

The grandmothers of the Splats’in Tsm7aksaltn (Teaching Centre) recently completed a milestone project by successfully documenting 3,360 words and phrases of the eastern dialect of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) language.

“These words and phrases will be uploaded to computer and be available online to those wishing to learn the accurate pronunciation of the Secwepemc word/phrase from any online location anywhere in the world,” said Deanna Leon, Splats’in Teaching Centre executive director.

“Each word/phrase has been collaborated upon and approved for accuracy and then recorded by individuals from this group of Secwepemc ladies.”

This group includes some of the last remaining fluent speakers within the Splats’in tribe and they range in age from 71 to 89.

“This dedicated grandmothers’ group has been working on this project under the auspices of the Splats’in Tsm7aksaltn Society for the past year and is comprised of eight fluent speakers, an audio/visual technical team and a co-ordinator (Rosalind Williams) that oversees the project,” said Leon.

The Splats’in band is comprised of 800 members.

“We have 15 fluent speakers left. There are 10 fluent speakers of the Secwepemc language who reside in our community aged 65 to 93,” said Leon.

“Our dialect, Secwepemctsin, is listed as an endangered language and predicted to become a dead language within the next decade.”

The society hopes to continue every effort to save the language from becoming extinct and this project is a major resource to help keep it alive.

“We are very proud that we have accomplished the major task of recording our language dictionary and common phrases so it will be preserved for future generations to use with computers, ipads, iphones, schools and homes,” said Leon.

The Splatsin Tsm7aksaltn has been supported in this project by the First Peoples Cultural Foundation and the Splats’in First Nation chief and council.

To see the online language dictionary, go to www.firstvoices.com and then select “Choose a Language” and click on the Secwepemctsin – Splatsin (eastern dialect) tab.