SENCOTEN Language Nest - Max Collins - CFUV - FM
In T’sartlip nation, known also by its colonial name of West Saanich, the LAU WEL’NEW
Tribal School runs a pilot project that immerses young WSANEC children in the SENCOTEN
language. This project, which began in the 2010’s, aids to revitalize the SENCOTEN language and
pass on this important part of WSANEC culture to future generations. Within the pilot project,
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) woman Tiffany Joseph contributes to the language nest by creating
SENCOTEN nursery rhymes set to the melodies of English rhymes, among other duties.
In this documentary, she shares her story of her involvement with this project. We hear
sounds of the WSANEC landscape, songs being sung by SENCOTEN language nest students, and
some of the translated nursery rhymes being sung by Tiffany herself. The voice of the
Interviewer is nearly completely taken out, as Tiffany is given as much time as possible on tape
to recount how she came to working with the language nest, and why working to restore and
revitalize SENCOTEN is important work to her.
The SENCOTEN Language Nest documentary is unique in the vantage point it takes while
exploring an important topic on Indigenous language revitalization: instead of looking at the
SENCOTEN Language nest from a strictly factual perspective, the story of the language nest is
told from the first-hand recounting of someone directly involved in the project. Heavily
influenced by the interview style of documentary director Errol Morris, this documentary has
removed the interviewer (or the “faux-first person” perspective) to create the illusion of Tiffany
recounting a sort of personal journal. Producer Max Collins used this style to emphasize the
importance of Indigenous stories being shared by Indigenous voices, without any interjection
from settler perspectives. It also emphasizes the fact that Indigenous culture cannot solely be
found behind the glass at a history museum; Indigenous culture is alive and thriving, and living
humans are working to expand the reach of it to many generations to come.
Check out the award-winning submission!