#SpeakGwichinToMe: Using social media to reclaim language
Social media campaign launched by 23-year-old Jacey Firth-Hagen
Although nearly 10,000 Gwich'in people live in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska, a United Nations study estimates just a few hundred fluent speakers of the Gwich'in language are left.
"We don't have time to wait for another generation or so to really work on bringing the Gwich'in language back to being spoken more," said 23-year-old Jacey Firth-Hagen.
Just over a year ago, she sparked a social media campaign called #SpeakGwichinToMe.
She was inspired by the efforts of the Sami — an Indigenous people from northern Europe who started a language campaign using hashtag #SpeakSamiToMe. They use Instagram and other social media apps to share photos captioned in the Sami language and translated into Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish languages.
"The thing that I do struggle with is the pronunciation because I'm not really anywhere near that can speak the language to me, but Jacey is quite helpful with how to pronounce things," Norris said.
The Gwich'in aren't the only indigenous group using social media to protect or revive their languages.
In Nova Scotia, Savannah Simon has been using short Instagram videos to encourage others to speak Mi'kmaq for years now.
That has other Mi'kmaq people following suit, posting their own videos as well.
Scroll through Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, and you'll also find other languages being shared as well — like #SpeakTlichoToMe and #SpeakCree, to name just two.