Fall Abenaki Language Camp
Abenaki Language Preservation….The struggle continues.
Language plays an important roll in every culture around the world. The Abenaki language is the ancient language of northern New England and parts of Quebec. Rremnants of it can still be found across the landscape in NH, VT and ME through the names of the many towns, mountains, lakes and rivers. But it is a language that has been quickly fading and at present has less than a dozen fluent speakers.
Now a group of people including the non-profit organization Wijokaodak, Inc. and the Cowasuck Band of Pennacook-Abenaki are attempting to revive Alnobaodwa, the Abenaki Language, in a weekend long fall language camp which is being held on October 9-12, 2009 at the Cowasuck Band tribal headquarters in Alton, NH.
The Abenaki people are fortunate to have Mr. Joseph Elie Joubert, an Abenaki speaker and teacher from Fort Johnson, NY, Mr. Jesse Bruchac, Abenaki language teacher of Buffalo, NY and Dr. Philippe Charland who teaches beginning Abenaki at the University of Montrealto offer language instruction and assist them in preserving and revitalizing their language.
Mr. Joubert has traveled the Northeast teaching in an attempt to save the Abenaki language. “Within our language lies the secrets of our culture” said Mr. Joubert.
“This is a positive step for all Abenaki to work together and a great beginning for our children” stated Mr. Paul Bunnell, a Koasek Abenaki from Milford, NH who will be attending the weekend event with his grand daughter.
This weekend’s language camp is one of three that will be held annually. Jesse Bruchac conducted a weekend language event in Greenfield, NY June 26-28, 2009 with 13 adults and 6 children. Wijokadoak held it’s second Annual Language Camp in Warner, NH July 12-17, 2009 which was well attended with 15 adults 8 children.
Mr. Paul Pouliot stated, “We are planning more culturally important projects and are evaluating what core values the Cowasuck Band should pursue to better the Abenaki People.”
The language camps held by Wijokaodak, Inc. are free and open to all Abenaki people with an interest in learning and preserving their language. Those registered at this weekends event represent the Abenaki of Odanak Qc, the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, the Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation and the NH Intertribal Council as well as other Abenaki people from around the State of NH and the surrounding Region.
Wijokadoak in the Abenaki language translates to - they help one another. The organization is a resource for Abenaki people and other American Indians living in New Hampshire and Vermont. “We must willingly work together to preserve and revitalize our language” stated Sherry Gould, director of Wijokadoak.
A Special thank you goes out to the gracious hospitality to Denise and Paul Pouliot (Sag8mo, Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook) for providing their beautiful home in Alton, New Hampshire; Sherry Gould, director of Wijokadoak Inc.; Elie Joseph Joubert, Abenaki Language Instructor; Jesse Bruchac, Abenaki Language Instructor; Dr. Philippe Charland, Abenaki Language Instructor.
My granddaughter Hannah Bunnell and myself had a wonderful and educational experience and encourage all Abenaki to learn their language to keep it alive. I have much more to learn.