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Languages can sleep. When Tiffany was born, only twelve people were known to speak her mother tongue – Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim. She would grow up to be a keeper of that language, and a dedicated language and cultural revivalist of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. Learning how to fill that role was a balancing act in navigating her traditional and modern education. You can’t always do things the way they have been done before.
Hear Tiffany's story of respecting the past, honouring the present and being intentional about the future.
Each workshop produces a creative participant reflection – a personal take away from the story they just heard – that is voluntarily shared with the wider community.
Beneath hardened exteriors we all have softness, vulnerability, and beauty. It takes courage to look within at our true selves, let alone share that self with others. I am ever inspired when people allow me the privilege of a glimpse at their softness and truth. There's power in our vulnerability; it invites compassion and melts away fear.
4th year Sociology, University of Victoria
"My name is Rose Wilby and I am a fourth year Sociology student attending the University of Victoria. I remember the first sociology class I took in my first semester of first year. It was the largest auditorium I had a class in with the largest amount of classmates – roughly 200-300 of us. The professor for this class, as well as the content we covered, is what drew me to declare as a sociology major. We touched on sociological topics such as gender, race, socioeconomic status and so much more that prior to this class I had never studied. The open-minded and critical thinking about the world that we do as sociology students is a special thing to study in school.
This past week I heard the story of Tiffany. She spoke of her personal experience growing up as an Indigenous woman with various values, traditions and beliefs. Tiffany emphasized the importance of keeping her language “awake.” Awake meaning keeping her Indigenous language from “falling asleep,” as her grandmother so symbolically puts it. Tiffany coincidently grew up in an area extremely close to where I grew up. Therefore, it was an enlightening experience to listen to her story from her perspective about her background.
Tiffany emphasized particular values of her culture that really resonated with me as a sociology student. She described how in her language, the heart and the mind are inherently connected. In sociology, we would describe this notion as the heart and mind being inherently intersectional. What this means is that the heart and mind work together; one is not affected without the other being affected as well. In this sense, the heart and the mind are interrelated physical, emotional, and spiritual features of human beings that can be utilized to benefit us as individuals. Tiffany’s story taught me the importance of listening to other people’s stories in order to likewise benefit us as individuals who share the same space."
Listen to Bronwen's response on youtube: