Exhibit at Okanagan Heritage Museum explores Indigenous languages

Living languages on display

Kelowna's Okanagan Heritage Museum's new exhibit 'Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC' is opening this Saturday.

This exhibit is perfect for those wanting to expand their vocabulary with a focus on the language of those from the traditional territory we live in.

Our Living Languages comes from the Royal BC Museum and First Peoples' Cultural Council which celebrates resiliency and diversity of Indigenous languages as times goes on in the face of change. 

Visitors will get to explore how the First Nations communities in B.C. are working to save the 34 different languages.  

The exhibit will feature a language map of B.C. to showcase how linguists develop orthographies for languages that traditionally had never been written down. Visitors can also listen to stories told in various languages.

Additional content has been added to the exhibit in partnership with the Sncewips Heritage Museum and The Syilx Language House, which highlights nsyilxcen and the syilx/Okanagan language. 

“BC has more than 60 per cent of all of Canada’s First Nations languages. Unfortunately, as a result of over 150 years of government policies designed to eradicate them, every one of BC’s First Nations languages are severely endangered or nearly extinct,” says Amanda Snyder, curatorial manager with the Kelowna Museums Society.

“Thankfully, there’s lots of groundbreaking work being to keep them alive, and this exciting new exhibit showcases some of that work. We hope you’ll stop by for a visit and to practice a traditional nsyilxcen greeting.”

B.C. is known as a linguistic hotspot thanks to the diversity of First Nations languages.

Our Living Languages dives deep into the history of the province's disrupted languages, complexity of these languages and the communities that are working to document and revitalize them. 

Admission to Kelowna Museums Society locations is by donation. Suggested amounts for individuals is $5 and $15 for families. The Okanagan Heritage Museum is located at 470 Queensway. 

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