Just about any event held in the Northern Capital will have Lheidli T’enneh Elder Darlene McIntosh beginning with Hadih, the traditional way to say hello in the Leheidli T’enneh dialect of Dakelh.

The Exploration Place recently announced the opening of two new exhibits in their museum. Each celebrates the state of Indigenous languages spoken in BC.

The first, Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC, is a travelling exhibition by the Royal BC Museum and First Nations Peoples’ Cultural Council. It celebrates the resilience and diversity of Indigenous languages in the face of change.

“As part of the reconciliation efforts, stimulating and facilitating the connection of Indigenous language is a roll we are embracing,” said Museum Curator, Alyssa Leier. “As part of our efforts to help preserve an increasingly endangered language, we are working on several initiatives including working with the Lheidli T’enneh on the digitization of a large collection of oral histories spoken in the Lheidli dialect of Dakelh. These are invaluable sources of cultural knowledge and it is critical that they are preserved. This exhibit showcases this kind of work and the urgency it requires.”

The Exploration Place’s in-house exhibit titled Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh showcases one Lheidli T’enneh Elder’s commitment to language revitalization. According to the Museum, Mary believed that preserving the Lheidli T’enneh culture began with language revitalization and was instrumental in the recovery and documentation of the written and spoken Lheidli T’enneh dialect of Dakelh.

Both exhibits will be opening this Sunday and will remain open into the new year, closing on January 6.

“We’re hoping lots of visitors that are in school and busy right now can come in over the Christmas break and visit it before it closes up in 2020,” Leier told MyPGNow.

As per a news release, The Exploration Place says BC is one of the planet’s most linguistically diverse regions and is known as a linguistic “hotspot” because of the diversity and vitality of the First Nations languages in the province.