Chinook Wawa is intimately linked with the history of British Columbia. It was widely spoken 100 years ago throughout the province by aboriginal and non-aboriginal people, but today there is only one remaining speaker who learned it from native elders. Despite this, older people in British Columbia still use Chinook words in their vocabulary and there are hundreds of place names around the province. Chinook Wawa was developed at a time of mutual respect and is an inspiration for the future.
Professor Jay Powell has the dedicated his life to helping revitalize First Nations languages and his relationships with speakers enabled him to learn Chinook Wawa.
Jay wrote a curriculum which he taught at Langara College in the 1970s. Students used this as a language credit to get into UBC. But no one has maintained the language as Professor Powell has called for.
The BC Chinook Wawa Group is looking for people to respond to the call of Jay Powell and commit to learning the language and reviving it in our province. This will be no easy task and will take great effort.
Let us know if you would like to get involved!