A major aspect of Nuxalk culture is the Nuxalk language, which has faced its own challenges over the years. Due to the installation of church-run residential schools, where native languages were forbidden and students were severely punished for speaking, very few people can speak Nuxalk fluently. Many of those fluent speakers are elders who have a limited time to spend with us before they pass on to the next world. Although the majority of Nuxalk people may only know a few words and phrases, there are attempts to revive the Nuxalk language.
We, the Nuxalkmc, are committed to reviving the language, and some of the youth have taken the initiative to learn as much as possible from the remaining elders. Voice recordings of elders that are currently on reel-to-reel and cassette tapes are in the process of being digitized to help ensure Nuxalkmc can learn to correct way of pronouncing words and phrases. Plans to develop learning materials in the Nuxalk language include children’s books, CDs and videos.
In addition, the Acwsalcta School teaches Nuxalk in class and the Nuxalk language is recognized by the University of British Columbia (UBC) as meeting the second language requirement for admission to the university. The Nuxalk Nation partnered with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to create Our World, web stories in the Nuxalk Language. We are also working with First Voices to archive some of the Nuxalk Language.