ḥaḥuupač̓akckʷakqin ʔiqḥmuut ciqy̓ak ‘Teachings from our Ancestral Language’: Innovation and Ancestral Continuity in the Hesquiaht Language Community Movement

RSVP not required.


Candidate #2 chuutsqa Layla Rorick


Public presentation and Q&A – Tuesday, April 30th 2024

Time: 10 am to 11:30 am

Location: PCN Multipurpose Room #2012

Format: Hybrid (in person and via Zoom)


Zoom details:


Meeting ID: 649 8171 5892

Passcode: 547585

Title: ḥaḥuupač̓akckʷakqin ʔiqḥmuut ciqy̓ak ‘Teachings from our Ancestral Language’: Innovation and Ancestral Continuity in the Hesquiaht Language Community Movement


Presentation Outline/abstract: Spiritual and emotional phenomena are essential components of ḥiḥiškʷiiʔatḥa ‘Hesquiaht language’ learning. Thus, the researcher applies her concept of Hesquiaht Language Flow [HLF], a collection of guiding principles for facilitating Hesquiaht language reclamation space and research. The concepts of HLF are derived from chuutsqa’s self-driven experience of learning and teaching her language in collaboration with fluent first-language speakers of ḥiḥiškʷiiʔatḥa. HLF offered four fundamental ideas to guide educational courses during a 100-hour land-based language camp: oral traditions, experiential learning, cultural context, and connection.

As a leader in the language revitalization movement, and as a Hesquiaht person, chuutsqa elaborates on how her understandings of particular cultural concepts that served as the groundwork for creating the language camp can be extended to facilitating further Indigenizing actions. This research applies efforts to align with ʔiqḥmuut ‘ancient and continuing’ reciprocal aspects of ḥiḥiškʷiiʔatḥa and the Hesquiaht universe. In addition, the research explains how Hesquiaht language learners engage in ancestral learning processes that originate in their personal łim̓aqsti, which refers to a shared space of cognition and inner emotions. Focussing on Hesquiaht ways of understanding and existing the researcher selected specific language domains and implemented daily speech routines within the context of Hesquiaht land and sea. The research emphasizes the communal responsibility to consistently renew, rejuvenate, and maintain the interrelationship between the Hesquiaht language and Hesquiaht land. Experiences from the Hesquiaht language camp are shared to advocate for continual efforts to restrengthen intergenerational transmission of Indigenous languages on their respective ancestral lands. Emphasizing the importance of learning to speak with a Hesquiaht instructor and with fluent-speaker-verified textual support, chuutsqa also implemented an accuracy verification process that supports language input, output, and interaction when no fluent speakers are available. Some suitable aspects of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) were utilized to enhance language teaching methods in the camp. These measures combined with HLF guidance aim to enhance successful language retention outcomes while Indigenizing educational spaces.


Bio: chuutsqa L. Rorick, a Hesquiaht First Nations woman, is a founding member of the grassroots organization Hesquiaht Language Program.  Within this community group, chuutsqa facilitates the operative leading cluster comprised of Hesquiaht’s eight remaining fluent Elders. Together, they are engaged in the collaborative development of free language resources and the creation of free language learning environments, both within classroom settings and on ancestral lands. chuutsqa holds a Masters in Indigenous Language Revitalization from the University of Victoria (UVic). Her doctoral dissertation research at UVic gives insight into Hesquiaht-centred collaborative language resource development, with attention to teaching and learning in Hesquiaht ways. Central to this Indigenizing inquiry was her delivery of an innovative 100-hour land-based language camp to benefit Hesquiaht language learners.