In celebration of Literacy Week, Northwest Community College (NWCC), Smithers Campus, partnered with Smithers Community Services Association (SCSA) and Bulkley Valley Learning Center (BVLC), to host a Literacy Luncheon. The event was aimed at promoting literacy through storytelling.
“We had a classroom full of participants,” said Lori Knorr, from NWCC Distributed Learning. “I think the main draw for most people was the opportunity to learn a little bit of the Wet’suwet’en language. The idea for this activity came to me as I considered literacy and how there are various ways to be illiterate: not only in English, but also within First Nations languages in the region.”
Guest speaker Mel Bazil, told a legend about the Trickster Raven and reflected on how storytelling is the first form of literacy. Learners from the NWCC Career and College Preparation program and SCSA read legends aloud, practicing their written and oral literacy. Staff from SCSA’s Ground 2 Griddle Neighbourhood Kitchen served alphabet soup.
NWCC and SCSA have worked together on a number of literacy events and activities throughout the year and have been in partnership at Ground 2 Griddle for over five years.
"Ground 2 Griddle develops hard literacy skills, including the math and reading inherent in the process of cooking, but also literacy skills related to participation, health, problem solving, and shared learning,” said Jo-Anne Nugent, Literacy Program Manager at Ground 2 Griddle. “Through cooking we’re able to find common ground with our learners and all participants have the opportunity to be both learner and teacher.”
Wet’suwet’en elder Lillian Morris helped students with their pronunciation of Wet’suwet’en words. Two of the words people learned were Hadïh, meaning “Hello” and Tazil, the word for soup.
“We were very fortunate to have Lillian share with us,” said Knorr. “She has done so much to support the Wet’suwet’en language already.”
If you are interested in learning Wet’suwet’en, please contact Lori Knorr at 250.847.4461 ext. 5822 or firstname.lastname@example.org