Ktunaxa Nation shares pledge of respect to mark Orange Shirt Day

Ktunaxa Nation shares pledge of respect to mark Orange Shirt Day

September 29, 2020
ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa:

By focusing a smart phone camera on a QR code image, you can listen to an audio file of a student’s pledge in Ktunaxa to help mark Orange Shirt Day, September 30.

The pledge ends with a promise to respect classmates, teachers and self, and is written out in both Ktunaxa and English below.

Kiʔsukʔk wiⱡnam
Hu sukiⱡ q̓ukni kusawsaqa nawsanmiyitki.
Hawiȼkinin ka ʔa·k̓in.
Hu ȼaqunani.
Hu sakiⱡ ʔupxni qapsin ku kȼxaⱡ ʔitki·kȼiⱡ.
Paⱡ nawsanmiyitki hu ȼxaⱡ ȼink̓apaⱡtiⱡik.
Paⱡ nawsanmiyitki hu ȼxaⱡ ʔakunxam̓ni.
Paⱡ nawsanmiytiki hu ȼxaⱡ wiⱡqaȼiʔti.
Ku ʔaqⱡsmaknik̓maⱡ, kit̓ki·kȼaⱡka ȼ kamin.

Good morning
I am glad to be here today.
Hold my hand.
I am small yet.
I still don’t know what I am being taught.
Teach me!
For today I shall listen.
For today I shall try.
For today I shall honour my classmates, teachers and myself.

Hearing the pledge spoken in Ktunaxa is as easy as focusing your smart phone camera onto the special QR code, and clicking onto the website that pops up to access the audio file.

The QR-code language resource was created by the Ktunaxa Nation Council Education and Employment Centre, in collaboration with School District #5. The pledge can be found in the Yaqan Nukiy School Gym in the Ktunaxa community of Yaqan Nukiy (near Creston.)

The interpretation of the pledge into English was done with the help of Ktunaxa elders.

Bonnie Harvey, Education Ambassador with the Ktunaxa Nation Council, said “This resource was created to encourage our friends to speak the Ktunaxa language—and Orange Shirt Day on September 30 is a great opportunity to try.”

Orange Shirt Day (September 30) started in 2013. It is a day to honour the thousands of Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools in Canada during a period that lasted well over 100 years.

The “Orange Shirt” refers to the new shirt that Northern Secwpemc student Phyllis Webstad was given to her by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C.

When Phyllis got to school, they took away her clothes, including her new shirt. It was never returned. To Phyllis, the colour orange has always reminded her of her experiences at residential school and, as she has said, “How my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

Those wanting to learn more about residential schools and how they fit into efforts of reconciliation can access many other online resources, including the Assembly of First Nations learning toolkit called “Plain Talk 6: Residential Schools.”

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting an online event open to all Canadian schools on September 30 called Every Child Matters: Reconciliation Through Education.

For speakers wanting to practice their Ktunaxa, listening to the pledge is as easy as focusing a phone camera on the QR Code then clicking on the link.

“We’re super excited to share this invaluable resource with residents of ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa today—and we wish that all students have a safe and productive school year,” Harvey said. “We’ve got to take care of each other every day at school and at home, and respect is the starting place that leads to understanding and friendship.”