Amelia Thompson Campbell

This gathering has been a long time needed to get our elders together as we are fast losing our elders, along with that goes our language and culture.

I am from Ditidaht and our language is the only one that has a different dialect from the rest of the Nuuchahnulth nations. Pachidaht and the Makah Nation, from the states, understand Ditidaht as there is only a slight difference in dialect. We have the close ties with these two nations. But I see now how our Ditidaht language will be in the same situation as our neighbours. I also see our language changing. The few words they use is not Ditidaht, they borrow words from Ohiaht and further up the coast. I keep telling them that is not our language. Now I think to myself they are using other languages, instead of Ditidaht language, maybe that is the way we will have to adapt.

The statistics across Canada have said, “Only three languages will survive and that is Mohawk, Cree and Inuit” which is very sad. Let us not let those statistics be proven right. We are still here as Nuu-chah-nulth. Bringing the elders together is very crucial. If it is a short notice our elders will get together when they are called to gather. I learned this way from my great grand parents.

As elders, we are here, I myself go to Ditidaht to see my daughter, and I do speak to my grand children in our language. One thing I hope and pray for is that they will take time to repeat what I say to them in our language. I hear the fifty year olds saying, “What is the use the ones that know the language laugh at us when we say it wrong.” I wish when we get together they would talk the language anyway. When I talk in my language they answer me in English. If the younger generation does not hear the language they will continue to borrow other nations’ languages. So please speak our own language all the time. I heard our elected Chief speak our language and I was so proud of him. I did not hear his mistakes all I heard was our language.