As with many other First Nations, one of our greatest challenges has been documenting and fostering our language. The people from this area were originally Hän speakers although today many citizens have ancestors with other linguistic roots. While early missionaries and others documented some of our vocabulary, it was not until we began working with linguists from the Yukon Native Language Centre in the 1970s that the Hän language as spoken in our area was put into a standardized written form.
Today only a few elders are still fully fluent in the language but they are tireless in helping us learn and document our language. We make every effort to offer language training to everyone from the three- and four-year-olds in the Aboriginal Head Start program, to all levels throughout the education system and even to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in employees.
The Hän Singers embody the celebration of our language and heritage. Three generations, ranging in age from toddlers to grandparents, come together to practice and perform our traditional songs and dances. All are garbed in traditional regalia and proudly represent our First Nation at many public events.
Grade 5 class at Moosehide learning both the uses of plants and their Hän names.
The Hän Singers keep our language and culture alive. L-R: Edward Simon, Ronald Johnson, ? , ? and ?.