The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is pleased to announce the release of episode 5 with John Kershaw. In this unique episode, we spoke to John who is of settler descent and an impassioned ally to Indigenous Peoples. Born and raised in the United States, John has lived in many places, but settled on Calgary when he began teaching in the early 2000’s. In 2019, John moved up to Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan and has been on a continued journey of learning the Cree language. Teaching in Sandy Bay and seeking out respectful ways of learning the Cree language, John sees this as a way of practicing Reconciliation; a role he cares for greatly.
The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is pleased to announce the release of episode 4 with Gabrielle Bird of the Atahkakoop Cree Nation in Treaty 6. Gabrielle currently resides in Regina with her family and is enrolled in a Social Work program at the University of Regina. Accessibility in language is one of the big barriers Gabrielle identifies. Gabrielle sees the need for more resources and programs in the community for fostering engagement and learning of the Cree language. Though the learning journey can be challenging and difficult, she says it is worth it.
The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is pleased to announce the release of episode 3 with Sharon Shadow. Sharon is a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation in the Yukon as well as being a member of the Wolf Clan. Sharow is an adult learner of the Southern Tutchone language and is the Yukon First Nations Languages Coordinator for the Government of Yukon. She has a Masters in Language Revitalization and teaches us all in this important interview about those who are silent speakers, as she considers herself one.
The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is pleased to announce the release of episode 2 with Errol Kinistino. Errol is an adult Cree language learner, as well as an actor and singer from the Ochapowace Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. In this episode, Errol pays homage to the history of his community and the impact of the Residential School System on the transmission of the Cree and Michif languages in his family. Speaking to the damage caused from Indigenous languages and cultures being labelled pagan, Errol shares how really, the language speaks to the heart and is so beautiful and full of stories and lessons.
At 19 years old while travelling to Split Lake and Indian Lake, Erroll first heard the languages being spoken fluently. He had no previous knowledge that this was even possible and it made him realize the language was still alive. As a university student in the 1970’s, Errol took an evening language course and describes it as eye opening. He recalls at first being severely discouraged and angry. Angry that it was so difficult to learn and that he had lost the opportunity as a child to learn it. He knew he had to move past the anger and the discouragement to go forward. Errol describes his experiences travelling Northern Manitoba and how hearing the language there helped to deepen his learning. Errol says: “Speak it as much as you can and if you hear it, you'll come alive. It’s in our blood, it’s in our DNA and we just have to revive it.” Old friends Gordon and Errol, discuss the significance of Indigenous languages and what small efforts in community spaces can do to immerse the people in their cultural legacy.
The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is pleased to announce the launch of Season 2 of Voices from the Land. In episode 1, Gordon is joined by Medicine Song Woman - Brenda MacIntyre. Brenda is a Juno award winning singer, mentor, public speaker, mother and adult learner of both the Cree and Ojibwe languages.
As an adult language learner, Brenda imparts important considerations to those who are just beginning to learn their Indigenous language. Brenda shares: "Our languages connect us to our blood memory, our Ancestors, the land and who we are. Finding my voice in the Cree and Ojibwe languages brings me home." Through the learning process, it is so important to have patience with oneself and Brenda draws the connections she sees to the benefits of community building through traditional language learning. Brenda hopes of going to a language and culture camp, to further her language learning in the context of being on the land. As a musician, learning to speak Cree and Ojibwe through songs has been a successful method for language retention and has also inspired her to incorporate it into her music. Though gathering restrictions due to the pandemic have presented challenges, online learning such as Cree Chatter Hour have been vital spaces to learn and practice with others. In this interview, Brenda outlines her path to language reclamation and how it has deepened her connection to herself and community.