Package has been approved.

Language Needs Assessment: LNA6299 - Prophet River First Nation

LNA Status
Application Year & Type
Assessment Year: 
Funding Application Type: 
Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI)
Language and Dialect Information
Language comment: 
How we spell it in our dialect is Dunne-za
Prophet River Dunne-za
Community(-ies) this project will be serving: 
Community NOT listed: 
Opportunities and Challenges
We just built a new school. Our Education Department and staff at the school are exceptional and focused on teaching our children, youth, and adults traditions ways and language. Traditional teachers are engaging, including those that are capable of teaching traditions, customs, and practices that are fluent in Dunne-za. The Elders Advisory Committee is part of the language initiative. Cheif and Council fully supports the initiative. Additional initiatives, such as those relating to the land and heritage, are identifying places and histories that require translations and storytelling in Dunne-za. Not only are youth excited, but also adults that have lost the language. Both the University of British Columbia, including professors and technicians capable of providing expert assistance are part of the PRFN language initiative. Most important, we still have a number of Elders that speak the language in a clean way that have not been influenced by other dialects, and they are fully on board to see that the initiative is successful.
There is no dictionary or document that provides translations or the names of things such as animals (e.g., bears, birds, fish) or everyday items (e.g., shoes, table, road) in the PRFN dialect. Before that is possible, however, there is a need to accurately identify the dialect and digitize the language. This is where the expertise of those at the University of British Columbia is desperately needed. Remoteness of the reserve, as well as the distance that traditional speakers are from each other in some cases, is a obstacle that needs to be overcome in order to effectively engage with one another. Also an obstacle is the distance that experts are from the reserve. Distances must be overcome. While traveling is one way to address the distance between people, the ability to use the internet is one that is a problem given the low speed at the reserve and the prohibitively high cost of improving that system. Like many, there are significant limitations due to financial resources to adequately complete initiatives. Sufficient funding is thus an obstacle that needs to be addressed. Just as the engagement of the Elders is an opportunity and fundamentally necessary, it is also a challenge in the context of time. The longer we wait to begin the initiative, or the longer it takes to complete the initiative, risks the loss of language. Our dialect is critically endangered at this time.