Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser, the provincial minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, paid a visit to the Qualicum Beach Museum on Nov. 15 to see their exhibit on Indigenous languages in B.C.
“Canada is leading the world in many ways in recognizing and trying to protect Indigenous languages, but we’re doing it the best here in British Columbia,” he said. “It’s vital now to try and catalog and actually teach the languages in a meaningful way.”
The exhibit, a collaboration between the Royal B.C. Museum and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, showcases Indigenous language from across the province.
It uses video, audio, text and photographs to educate visitors about B.C.’s 32 distinct First Nations languages.
Jesse Recalma showed the exhibit to Fraser, along with people involved with the museum. Recalma teaches Hul’q’umi’num, a Salishan language, at Bowser Elementary School.
“We’re one of the areas within B.C. and the island that has what is considered a sleeping language,” said Recalma, while emphasizing the importance of government funding for language revitalization. “We know that even though they’re considered sleeping, a lot of these words that we have within these sleeping languages are still, you know, spoken and used in other dialects.”
Admission to the QB Museum is by suggested donation of $5 per person. It is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Group visits outside of these hours can be arranged by calling 250-752-5533.