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Language

Nsyilxcen is the language spoken by and distinguishes the Syilx from other aboriginal peoples. It is a Salish language which is distinct from our Salish neighbors, like the Spokan, the Nlkamux, and the Secwepemc and so on. Nsyilxcen is spoken in all the districts of the Syilx territory with varying dialects.

Our Language, Nsyilxcen is in danger of becoming extinct! Almost 200 years ago since Europeans established permanent settlements in this part of North America; they imposed various ways of cultural change including religion and education tools. It impacted all our cultural norms including language. As part of colonization residential schools were introduced and the Native pupils were severely punished for speaking their own languages and forced to speak English, resulting in a severe loss of the language in our communities.

Community based language revitalization strategies such as immersion schools and making language a major component of all the Band schools are some of the steps that are being taken along with the development of curriculum, web based tools and books. The Enowkin also offers adult courses in nsyilxcen through their center, with partnerships with community, Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.

To learn more, Nsyilxcen words and phrases have been added to FirstVoices which you can find at  http://www.firstvoices.com/en/syilx/welcome