Attendance was low at the delayed 2023 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Scholarship Ceremony, but the event made it evident that there are more language learners than ever.
Held at the Alberni District Secondary School on Friday, Oct. 13, almost every speaker, including SD70 Superintendent Tim Davie, used the Nuu-chah-nulth language as part of their speeches.
Normally held in June, the 2023 NTC Scholarship Ceremony was delayed due to the Cameron Bluff Wildfire that made Port Alberni difficult to access from other parts of Vancouver Island for most of the summer. Still, the NTC education staff went all out to honor those who worked hard to achieve higher education.
They hosted a dinner and beautifully decorated the ADSS auditorium stage for the event.
“Education gives you a better quality of life and less chance of addiction,” NTC Vice-President Les Doiron told the crowd.
He went on to say that he raises his hands to the scholars.
“When I was a kid, we didn’t have this opportunity,” he told them as he encouraged them to keep building on their education.
Emcee Tyson Touchie kept things moving along with humor. He also showed his language ability, inviting correction for any mispronunciation. He honored each and every scholarship winner by calling out their names, all 155 of them. Eighteen winners were in attendance and were invited to take seats on the stage.
It seemed every guest speaker gave a portion of their speech in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, from the emcee and the First Nations representatives to the school superintendent.
SD70 Superintendent Tim Davie congratulated the scholars in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, telling the crowd that he was enrolled in a Nuu-chah-nulth language program at the local college.
It was clear that more people of all ages are taking on the challenge of learning the language. One of the speakers noted that it is far more difficult for adult learners to pick up a new language, so many are trying and that is encouraging.
The evening ended with acknowledgments to all that gave scholarships and those that supported the event.