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Merritt, B.C. – This onth marks the return of the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly’s language and culture conference, called the Language & Culture móqʷix (phonetics: mo-qw-eehx) gathering.

The móqʷix will take place from October 27-29, 2023, at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology’s Merritt campus, and will feature Storytellers, Knowledge Keepers, Elders, and Speakers sharing information and stories on traditional tool making, traditional games, early years language immersion, language nests, drum making, and much more.

“Language and culture go hand in hand, through our culture we learn and immerse ourselves in connection to ourselves, to one another, and to the land, water, plants, and animals,” said Lena Nicholson, the CNA’s nłeʔkepmxcín Program Manager.

“By practicing the ways of knowing and doing, we bring life to the land and honour our ancestors, speaking our language is a form of healing, and sharing it with others enhances this immensely. No matter how much or how little we know, we have the ability to teach it and share it with others. nłeʔkepmxcín is rich with history, with descriptiveness, and ties us to our surroundings, the names of places and people echo through the valleys and canyons, and we remember who we are as ƛ̓uʔsqáyxʷ (Indigenous people).”

Planned presenters and workshops at the móqʷix include making elderberry syrup and cottonwood bud salve with Jack McIntyre, pine needle basketry with Rolene Edwards, and other teachings rooted in nłeʔképmx culture and tradition.

"Language is the heartbeat of our culture, and the rhythm of our traditions,” said Madelynn Albert, the CNA’s nłeʔkepmxcín Language Coordinator.

“I'm excited to have an hand in making more space for our language, for my language. For every word spoken, for every phrase learned, we breathe life into our Nlaka’pamux identity. My goal is to make this easier to share and learn with each other."

Ecko Aleck (stage name SacRED) from Sacred Matriarch Creative will serve as the emcee and keynote speaker, with nłeʔképmx ancestral skin marker Dion Kaszas and sociocultural anthropologist Sarah C. Moritz also presenting on their vital language work.

“I am so excited to see all the familiar and new faces,” said Alicia Ned, nłeʔkepmxcín Resource Support at CNA. “And to meet new people, as this is my first huge conference as I am new to this! I hope to learn a lot and I hope everyone who shows up learns something new here at the móqʷix. There's going to be a lot of cool and fascinating workshops going on!”

The CNA is committed to developing events, programs and services that respect and advance nłeʔképmx decision-making, traditional knowledge, and laws. The móqʷix will be a space to learn, share, and advance nłeʔkepmxcín, while celebrating the successes in bringing the language to life.

“I am looking forward to seeing all of our communities come together to visit, share some laughs, learn more language and culture of our nłeʔképmx territory,” said Suzanne Washington, nłeʔkepmxcín Language Support/Resource Development at CNA. “We really worked hard to put on quality workshops and keynote addresses for all to enjoy. See you all there!”

Anyone interested in attending the móqʷix should register now, as pre-registration enters them for a chance to win a new smoker! There will be several opportunities to win prizes throughout the weekend of the móqʷix.

For more information, visit the CNA’s social media channels, contact the nłeʔkepmxcín Department at lagnuage@cna-trust.ca, or call 250-378-1864.

ʔes kíyestem he nqʷíncutn kt (esh keeya-shtem ha n-qwine-choot-n kt) / we are putting our language first 

About CNA – The Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly (CNA) is a not-for-profit organization that was formed in 2013 to manage and administer the agreements relating to Teck Highland Valley Copper Mine (HVC) on behalf of Ashcroft Indian Band, Boston Bar First Nation, Coldwater Indian Band, Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, Nicomen Indian Band, Nooaitch Indian Band, Shackan Indian Band and Siska Indian Band (the Participating Bands). Although the CNA was created only 10 years ago, its work is rooted in hundreds of years of history and a legacy of protecting the nłeʔképmx people and our culture, values, and territory. CNA offers employment and training services, language and culture programming, territorial stewardship initiatives, and an Indigenous guardianship program. CNA’s main office is in downtown Merritt at 2025 Granite Avenue.

For more information, please contact:

Marius Auer, Communications Specialist