The new X̱aad Kil office in Old Massett is now holding a logo contest. Submissions are due by May 28, and the selected artist will receive $250 and acknowledgement for his or her work.

X̱aad Kil office opens in Old Massett

More than anyone else, Blanche Bell speaks Haida with her children, who are four and six.

They learn a lot from Chief Matthews Elementary, she says, and after years of learning Xaad Kil herself, Bell can build on their school lessons at home.

Most exciting is when her kids pick up new Haida words or phrases without instruction. They simply hear a new word, guess its meaning, and keep it.

“It becomes a part of how you think,” Bell says.

“I feel like speaking Haida opens up a whole new worldview.”

This spring, Bell and some colleagues started up a new Xaad Kil office in Old Massett that they hope will open up all sorts of new language possibilities.

Open weekday mornings at 415B Frog Street, they are already getting set to launch a phone app that pairs images with spoken words in the northern Haida language dialect (Xaad Kil).

They also hope to offer a credited Language Proficiency Certificate program together with Simon Fraser University.

Marianne Ignace, who directs the First Nations Language Centre at SFU, will also lead some Xaad Kil storytelling from a Haida language book that has been years in the making.

While all of that excites Bell, the program co-ordinator for the new office, she also wants to hear what other people would like to try.

“We are trying to start from the beginning, to make it something that hasn’t been done before,” she said.

For example, Bell recently visited the Chief Atahm School in Chase, B.C. and picked up a language-learning technique that was totally new to her.

Called “total physical response,” it links new words with physical gestures to better remember them.

Together with Leslie Brown, the executive coordinator of the new Xaad Kil office, and Skil Jaadee White, the new resource coordinator, Bell is also hoping to work more closely with Haidas learning other dialects. Already they are planning a handy meeting around the next All-Native Basketball Tournament.

But to make sure they create programs that plenty of people are excited about, the Xaad Kil office is calling a meeting at Sarah’s Longhouse starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30. There will also be a new Haida Language Advisory Council for the northern dialect that will vote on what programs the office should take on, and how to go about them.

Besides some favourite FAQs such as how to spell “haaw’aa” (“I get that question the most,” she said, laughing), Bell is looking forward to finding new, inclusive ways to engage the language resources Old Massett already has. It might even help a few more parents of Chief Matthews students at the end of the school day.

“Our goal is to help parents know what their children are saying,” she said, laughing.

For updates and info on the logo contest for the new Xaad Kil office, visit the @xaadkiloffice Facebook page.

Just Posted

Number-one bud: Q.C. cannabis store could be the first on Haida Gwaii

A local business owner is looking to open the first licensed cannabis… Continue reading

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

December windstorms led to record ferry cancellations

Baileys for breakfast? It may not be what the doctor ordered, but… Continue reading

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

On the Wing: Christmas Bird Count #4 — Skidegate Inlet

By Margo Hearne The marine forecast read “winds northwest 15 to 25… Continue reading

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Port authority imposes ban on development around Lelu Island

Following Pacific Northwest LNG, there will be no future projects proposed near Flora Bank

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read