Celebrate National Aboriginal Language Day

Since 1993, Indigenous peoples in Canada have celebrated March 31st to honour the strength and endurance of our languages and cultures. While National Aboriginal Languages Day is a single day to honour the legacy we have inherited, there are thousands of Indigenous Language Champions creating and delivering Indigenous languages programs and traditional teachings every day. We celebrate the work of our Indigenous Language and Culture Champions to revitalize and seek ways to sustain survival of our languages.

We acknowledge the difficult burden they have carried to reverse more than a century of attempts, primarily through residential schools, to erase our languages and identity. Twenty-seven years ago, the Indigenous peoples of Hawai’i had only 50 surviving fluent speakers. Today, their education system supports Language Nests and Immersion Programs. Their language and culture is taught in all grade levels, and into college and university programs – from early childhood education to PhD. They now have more than 10,000 fluent Hawaiian speakers. It is our legacy, as our Hawaiian and Maori brothers and sisters have done, to sustain the struggle to ensure that our communities have equality of opportunity to live and learn in our Mother Tongues – to have access to Language Nests, Immersion Programs, Language and Cultural Camps, and to offer Master-Apprentice Programs for our Teachers and those who want to become fluent speakers and Language Teachers.

From coast to coast to coast, we will take action with even greater determination to assert our languages, our identities, and to seek equitable recognition and support to that which is provided to the official languages in this country. Together, let us agree that all learners will have equality of opportunity to live and learn in our Mother Tongue. Join us in celebrating National Aboriginal Languages Day, every day!

Help us improve our services!

We are listening!

We want to ensure that we meet your expectations. Please use this form to tell us about your experience taking part in our programs and how we can improve our offer. You can evaluate the quality of our areas of service by giving from 1 point to 5 points, accordingly. Please choose one of the three versions available:

Quality Service Evaluation Form (PDF)

Quality Service Evaluation Form (Survey Monkey)

Your name and email address are optional! To be included in the prize draw, you must do one of the following:
1) Fill out the personal info section of the survey, or
2) If you would prefer to enter anonymously, please email your name, address, and phone number to communications@huuayaht.org. With “Survey Contest” in the subject line.

ƛ̓eko  ƛ̓eko (tl̓-eko, Thank you!)



Paawats himwitsa…

  • In February 2006, the Huu-ay-aht Elders (Nananiiqsu), parents and children started meeting to plan a language nest program.
  • With funding obtained by Denny Durocher, the community hosted an 8 week language nest pilot project that was facilitated by Nancy Logan. 
  • In 2007, HFN hired an Early Childhood Educator, Kathy Waddell, to facilitate the program and to expand services to include preschool and child care.
  • The language nest was named “Paawats” meaning “nest” in Huu-ay-aht.
  • The Early Childhood Educator’s role is to implement a quality program for the children. Children are gifts from the Creator and deserve the best care and education we can give them.
  • The Anacla Paawats is a licensed facility with Island Health.
  • Paawats operates all year round.
  • Whenever possible, parents are encouraged to attend with their children, so that they learn enough to encourage language at home.
  • The early childhood educator supports the children’s learning by planning play activities that are appropriate to the age and skill levels of the children.
  • The children play and learn through a variety of activities including art, playdough, blocks, puzzles, and books.
  • The elders bring Huu-ay-aht knowledge including traditional teachings, culture and language.
  • The elders speak to the children and each other in Huu-ay-aht language as much as possible.
  • We have a language circle time of approximately 15 – 20 minutes where the children enjoy songs, rhymes, and games in Huu-ay-aht. 
  • The children who attend learn Huu-ay-aht words for indigenous animals, body parts, colors, counting, family names (grandma, baby, etc.) and a variety of commonly used words and phrases.
  • After language circle, everyone enjoys a nutritious lunch.
  • Building on the success of Anacla Paawats, the Port Alberni Paawats was opened in November 2014 and looks forward to serving Huu-ay-aht families in the Port Alberni region.

For more information, please call:

Paawats Early Childhood Centre – Pachena: 250.728.3083

Paawats Early Childhood Centre – Port Alberni: 250.723.0898