December 22, 2023

HMM 12 – 29 – 23 The Aunties Dandelion

In place of our regular Hudson Mohawk Magazine programing, today we share this episode of The Aunties Dandelion podcast called “Owennatekha Brian Maracle (Kanyen’kehà:ka) Language Revitalizer.”

Show notes:
AUNTIE: Wa’tkwanonhweráton Sewakwé:kon (Greetings, Love and Respect from me to all of you). In the fall of 2022 I attended a retirement party at Six Nations of the Grand River Rotinonhsyón:ni Territory for the person with whom we are visiting this week: Mohawk language revitalizer Owennatekha Brian Maracle. About 150 people were in attendance looking so gorgeous, so glamorous and pretty much every guest was speaking Kanyen’kèha, which is our Mohawk language, at many levels of fluency and with great joy. So much of what made that moment possible is due to Owennatekha and his family’s decades-long dedication to restore our original language.

When he returned to Six Nations in the 1990’s after a distinguished journalism career and decades as a carpenter, Owennatekha intersected with a great push within our Confederacy to standardized and reclaim Kanyen’kéha.

OWENNATEKHA: It was up to us to decide, well, where do we start? What do we say on day one, minute one? And then what? And then what? And then what? And it took several years to figure out the most efficient way of doing that.

AUNTIE: Over 20-some-odd years of saying “And then what?” Owennatekha and his family built and grew Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa adult language immersion school at Six Nations from which I am so fortunate to have graduated in 2021.

The school is the gold standard of language revitalizaition in our Rotinonhsyón:ni Confederacy and beyond and Owennatekha says all the challenges have been worth it when he hears language being spoken naturally in our community.

OWENNATEKHA: I go to public meetings nowadays, some political thing here, Land Back or who knows, whatever… there’s no political meeting that takes place without one of our grads, one of our students getting up and going on in the language – jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber. And they don’t care if people there don’t understand. They just feel the need to express themselves in the language.

AUNTIE: We are Yéthi Nisténha ne Tekaronyakénare – The Aunties Dandelion. We are focused on revitalizing our communities through stories of land, language and relationships. And we want to say nyá:wenkò:wa, big thanks, to Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office teyonkhiwihstakénha – for making this podcast possible through their New Media fund.

So make some tea, take a breath, carve out a little time to listen to your Aunties as we visit with Rakenonhá’a Uncle Owennatekha Brian Maracle.

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