Salish and Neighbouring Languages Conference set for UBC Okanagan

The 42nd International Conference on Salish and Neighbouring Languages will be held at UBC Okanagan July 30 to August 1, addressing the study, preservation and teaching of Salish and neighbouring languages.

"This is an extremely important conference because Salish and neighbouring languages are very endangered," says Kimary Shahin, one of the conference organizers. "There is always an air of great commitment -- and celebration -- at this conference."

Canada has 52 First Nations, Inuktitut, and Métis languages. The last fluent speakers of many of them could be lost within the next few years.

"This is a very important annual meeting for the sharing of ground-breaking linguistic and linguistic anthropological research and language revitalization practices related to Salish and neighbouring languages," Shahin says.

The conference is co-hosted by the Community, Culture and Global Studies unit at UBC Okanagan's Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, and the En'owkin Centre, an indigenous cultural, educational and creative arts institution in Penticton, B.C.

Co-hosting the conference is viewed as an expression of UBC Okanagan's commitment to Indigenous studies, says Michael Evans, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies, noting that the conference coincides with joint efforts between UBC Okanagan and the En'owkin Centre in the area of language teacher training.

The conference will feature presentations on many Salish and neighbouring languages, including N’syilxcen, Lushootseed, St’át’imcets, Halkomelem, Klallam, and Skwxwú7mesh Salish, Heiltsuk and Makah (Wakashan languages), and Tsimshianic languages.

The 2005 international conference was held in Vancouver and hosted by the Musqueam Indian Band, University of British Columbia First Nations Languages Program, and the University of British Columbia Department of Linguistics. Last year, it was held at the University of Victoria.

More information about this summer's conference is on the web at:

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