Haana Edenshaw is a youth from Haida Gwaii. She’s accompanying Canadian Friends Service Committee at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York this week. On April 22 Haana delivered a speech at an event hosted by Canada, Ecuador and the Assembly of First Nations. She did it all in her Haida language.
Here is a video of Haana’s speech, followed by the text in Haida and then the text in English.
Statement of Haana Edenshaw (in Haida)
K’al jaad ‘aangaa, kilslaay ‘aangaa, Xaadaa ‘laaisis,
Haana Edenshaw hanuu dii kya’aang.
Tsiits Gitanee sduu dii isgaagang. Xaayda Gwaay sduu dii ‘isgaagang.
Iitl’ gyaa Xaadee sduu Xaad kil guwee ‘laasaang han tl’a suugang.
Gyak’it gam Xaad Kil iitl’ gitalang isgyaan iitl’ tak’alang gyuudwang’angsaang, Ahljii dii ga hlGwaagaa Gusdlang.
Gam yaats’ Xaadee kil sGun hl guusuugaa’anggang. Ahljii ahluu dii gudangee st’iigang.
‘Waagyaan, guusduu t’alang ‘isdaasaang?
‘Waadluu Dii jaadaa xujuu sluu dalang ‘waadluwaan dii ahl Xaad Kil ga guusuugiinii.
Dii inaasleehl sluu, sang ‘waadluwaan Xaad Kil dii ahl adeedgang giinii.
Dii Xaad Kil uu iijang.
Iitl’ gyaahlaang Gaa Xaad Kil uu iijang, taawee hansan, iitl’ kil ‘laa hansan, iitl’ kil gulaa hansan.
Weed dii hit’an inaas uu iijang, GwaaGanad Xaad Kil Gii ahl dii hlGangulaang. ‘ll k’ul jaad uu iijang. ‘Ll Xaad Kil sk’adada ‘leeyga uu iijang. ‘ll k’yaa yahgudanggang, ahjii awaahl Gagwii sda iijang. Gudanxeewad aa. T’alang gud ahl stuujuuwaang; GwaaGanad gin k’uugaa dii ahl sk’adadang, isgyaan Xaad Kil dii ahl ‘ll sk’adadang.
Dii gitalang ‘inaas sdluu, nang k’ayas ‘laa ahl gyaahlaang ‘ll suudaasaa ‘ujaa?
Xaad Kil sk’adaga ‘leeyga iitl’ aa hl sk’aadaasaang. Gutgwaa Xaadgee ‘ineelsaang sluu, Xaad Kil ‘laa ahl gyuudaansaa ga dii gudanggang. Giitsgwaad tliisluuwaan t’alang ‘waadluuwaan Xaad Kihlga guusuusaang.
Dii yaalaang hlGaangulaas hl isdaasaa ga dii gudanggang.
Dii t’akaan kaaysaa sdluu, t’alang ‘waadluwaan Xaad Kil ga guusuusaang. Giitsgwad waadluuwaan Xaadgee gya tlagee hansan.
Dalang ‘waadluwaan ahl kil ‘laagang. Haw’aa.
Hu tlaan Geelgang. (that is all).
Statement of Haana Edenshaw (in English)
Respected women, respected men, good people.
My name is Haana Edenshaw.
I am from the Tsiits Gitanee clan on Haida Gwaii.
They say my language is dying.
I am scared that my generation will be the last to hear Haida spoken from someone who was born into the language.
I will not be stuck speaking only the language of my oppressors on my land. It makes my mind sick.
But what are we doing about it?
When I was younger I did not feel like my language could disappear.
I grew up with the Haida language all around me, and I cannot imagine my life without it.
Haida language is who I am.
It is in our stories, it is in the food we eat, it is in how we greet each other, it is in how we tease each other.
Now that I am older I have the privilege of working as a language apprentice learning from GwaaGanad, who is one of the few that still carry the language within her. Her name is an ancient one, going back to the time of godanxeewat. She not only teaches me Haida, but we also visit, she teaches me how to cook Haida foods. She tells me stories.
When my children are young will they be able to hear any Elders tell their stories in Haida?
I know there will always be teachers.
But I want future generations to be able to grow up immersed in the Haida language, and I hope that one day we can speak Haida fluently as a community again.
I am determined to carry on the work of my parents.
I am determined that my children’s children will once again be born into a world where Haida is spoken all around them. And I hope the same for all Indigenous languages.
I respectfully thank all of you for listening. Thank you.
That is all.
Well done Haana! Haana is also the recipient of a grant form CFSC’s Reconciliation Fund. Find out more about the Fund.