That which makes us Haida - the Haida Language documents the last remaining fluent speakers of the Haida language and explores the three remaining dialects found in Alaska, Old Massett and Skidegate through portraits taken by Vancouver-based Farah Nosh over the last eight years and interviews with the last fluent speakers in these communities. These men and women (the youngest is now 65 years old), who grew up with active, fluent speakers in their homes, are working hard to save this linguistic isolate from extinction by teaching in schools, creating a written orthography and orally documenting all the words they know. The elders tell deeply compelling stories of how the language has influenced their relationships to the land and sea.
A full-colour exhibition catalogue, with a foreward by renowned anthropologist Wade Davis, and a CD accompanies the exhibition (Haida Gwaii Museum Press).
Originated and presented by the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay and seven years in the making, the exhibition is curated by Haida speakers Jusquan, Amanda Bedard and Jisgang, Nika Collison in collaboration with the language programs of Alaska and Haida Gwaii. It aims to inspire critical thinking around what a language is, what it means to a people, and why Haida people must keep their language alive.
Monthly public programming highlights include talks by: co-curators Jisgang, Nika Collison and Jusquan Amanda Bedard, as well as Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Kwakwaka'wakw linguist and artist Marianne Nicolson, and others.
March 29, 2012 to September 2, 2012
That Which Makes Us Haida - the Haida Language