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Mission

The Society is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization that seeks to promote the revitalization of the Witsuwit'en language and culture to ensure the survival of our ways of being as a distinct people for future generations.

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Vision

We envision a community that lives and breaths our uniquely Witsuwit'en culture and language.  Where our children and our children’s children have the opportunity to learn, practice, and teach our history, culture, language, and traditions of our ancestors. 

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Purpose

  • To ensure Witsuwit’en peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop our cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of our sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. We also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop our intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

 

  • To create fluent Witsuwit’en language speakers and writers.

 

  • To undertake Nation-based, high-quality research and education projects and develop information management and record keeping systems, which support the advancement of the Witsuwit’en language and culture that is accessible and representative of all clan and house members.

  • To support the integration, implementation, and understanding of Witsuwit’en language and culture within the Witsuwit’en traditional territories and amongst the non-Witsuwit’en population that lives within and visits the territories.

  • To be representative of all five clans of the Witsuwit’en peoples.

 

  • To support Witsuwit’en peoples outside of the territories to strengthen and maintain their connections to Witsuwit’en language and culture.

 

  • To focus on the integration of language policies, programs and curriculums with public schools and Witsuwit’en operated schools within the territory and advocate for the integration of language and cultural programs at a provincial level.

 

  • To standardize and implement the Distinctly Witsuwit’en orthography.

 

  • To support and implement Witsuwit’en Hereditary law, customs, and beliefs into all programs and services.

 

  • To create and support the development of physical infrastructure that supports the celebration of Witsuwit’en language and culture.

  • To fundraise and raise revenue to support the purposes of the society.

Guiding principles

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We will work together in unity for the purposes of revitalizing our language and culture without interference from political issues or structures. 
 
We recognize that we are an oral society first and a written culture second.  We will support our members to learn our language, our various dialects, and accents to ensure future generations become keepers of our language. 
 
We recognize that our communities have been impacted by colonial policies of assimilation and work with a positive framework and meet our members where they are at in their journey to re-discover our language and culture.
 

We will work together to lift each other up and celebrate our differences as taught to us by our ancestors.

 

We will make all efforts to make decisions by Hibibe So'oon Dzin (Concensus) by providing sufficient time for all directors to understand all aspects of the issues at hand and have any questions answered.  However, to ensure the work that needs to happen in our communities continues, after a reasonable time-period, decisions will be brought to a majority vote.  

 

Our work will be guided by the Society Act AND the guidance of the hereditary laws, customs, and constitution of the Witsuwit’en peoples.  We will adhere to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. ​We recognize that our culture and language are intrinsically linked to our traditional territories; our connection to mother earth; and that all future generations of Witsuwit’en peoples have the right to utilize our territories as our ancestors have done for millennia.

 

While our language is primarily oral, we will embrace all methods and technologies that will ensure the continuity of our language.

 

As members we will commit to speaking our language at every opportunity, especially to babies and young children in an effort to nurture Witsuwit’en as a first language.

 

We will involve children and youth in our planning and decision making processes as they are our future!

Meet The Team

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Sue Alfred

WILAT

President

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Helen Nikal

MISILOS

Vice-President

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Lucy Gagnon

DUNEN

Treasurer

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Amanda Lewis

SKIY'ZE

Representative

Birdy Markert

'ILHDESINON

Board Member

Lillian P Morris

SKIY'ZE

Board Member

Elder Representative

Karen Plasway

SKIY'ZE

Executive Director

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MEMBERSHIP

All Witsuwit'en clan and house members are eligible for membership with the WLCS.

RESEARCHERS

Researchers interested in doing work with the Witsuwit'en in terms of language and culture are asked to contact us at the onset of your project.

PARTNERSHIPS

The WLCS are continually looking for partnerships with organizations interested in promoting our culture and language!

DONATE

Our work depends on generous donations such as yours!

OPPORTUNITIES

If you are interested in volunteering, job shadowing, or doing an internship with the WLCS.  Please send an email along with an up-to-date resume and a brief cover letter outlining your interests and the skills you may bring to our organization.

WLCS AND covid-19update

​August 2020 - COVID-19 coincided with the year end of many of our programs. As a result, all our staff was laid off until we were able to determine our course of action. Since many of our programs are based on close-contact, hands-on learning, we have had to rethink how we will continue to support Witsuwit'en language learning safely. The safety of fluent speakers is our priority. We will offer some limited language services and take this time to strengthen the society. Though we continue to be committed to Witsuwit'en language revitalization, our capacity is quite limited at this time. For the safety of staff and Elders, our office will continue to be closed to the public until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience. Any inquiries can be directed to our Program Coordinator at: info@niwhkinic.org. Wiggus and so' ghuhdlï!