250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 8:57 pm

UNBC and Lheidli T’enneh Sign MOU

Friday, September 30, 2016 @ 11:10 AM

Photo 250News

Prince George, B.C. – A big step forward in the relationship between the Lheidli T’enneh and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding during a ceremony this morning aimed at strengthening ties between the two groups.

To celebrate, a new sign was unveiled at the campus entrance on University Way. Inscribed on the sign is “House of Learning” in the Carrier language.

“These are symbols and symbols are incredibly important because behind these symbols is evidence of our partnership and our commitment to each other,” said UNBC president Dr. Daniel Weeks. “We are going to continue this not only on this campus but also on our campuses throughout the north in the local dialects there.”

“It doesn’t matter if we didn’t do it in the past, we think of the future and this day is a special day for our community, a special day for the university and for everyone who attends the university and hopefully more students from our community,” added Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dominick Frederick.

A new flag pole has also been installed in the rose garden near the bus loop where the Lheidli T’enneh flag will now fly.



The Carrier text on the sign is actually an approximation to “University of Northern BC”. The second line means “house for learning”. The first line means “our northern territory”.

I suspect that most people realize that there would be no word for “university” in any North or South American indigenous language.

The question I have is why do they restrict their language to those words of the past rather than adopting, adapting or creating new words which would allow for modern meanings to be incorporated into the language. Most other languages do one of the three options.

    They do create words for new things. One way of doing this is shifting the meaning of old words.For example, the word that once meant “bow” now means “gun”. Another way is using the word-formation resources of the language. For example, a washing machine is a naots’i betoonats’ugus-i “that by means of which one washes clothing”. A priest is a nawhulnuk, originally “one who tells a story”, with the meaning of the verb extended to preaching. A few words are borrowed, e.g. lugafi “coffee”.

      So the obvious question then becomes what word is used for bow?

      Exchanging meanings does nothing for expanding he vocabulary of a language in my mind. Double meanings of the same word only means that the context dictates what the actual meaning is and obfuscates a language.

      Not a good thing for quick clarity of meaning.

      gopg2015 For the “bow” the add a suffix meaning “real, original”, so the whole means “original gun”.

      It’s true that exchanging meanings of existing words can create ambiguity, but in most cases that isn’t what happens. Most new items are assigned new words of their own created using the word-formation resources of the language. Most tools and machines, for example, have names meaning “the thing by means of which one does such-and-such”. There are also compounds, such as yeztlik’o’ “horse” + “hunchback”, for “camel”. (yeztli “horse” is itself a contraction of what was originally yezih “elk” + lhi “dog”.)

    One of my favorite shifts is in Navajo, where the word that originally meant “dog” came to be used to mean “horse” when horses became the most important beast of burden. The same word was extended to motor vehicles when they came in. There is another word for motor vehicle, but older Navajos especially will refer to what historically meant “my dog” when speaking of their truck.

    Looked up nizdeh in the Carrier language dictionary. It shows “from the west” as the translation.

    For the word nekeyoh it shows it to mean trapline.

    So, perhaps I am connecting them in the worn fashion, but it seems that the pure translation is the western traplines. Going from that pure translation to a modern day interpretation, since there may not be a word for “territory”, I could see the meaning being northern territory.
    How did you get the word “our” in there? How much latitude do you have in your interpretation -understanding that there is a difference between translation and interpretation, especially with so few modern speakers of the language – versus the interpretation of others? Are there other opinions on that interpretations?

      worn should be wrong …. editing function would be nice.

      I have to run to an appointment so will be brief for now. keyoh means something like “territory”, but it is complicated. It can also mean “village, town”. It is also used for “trapline”, originally in the Carrier sense, which is different from the non-native sense.

      ne- is the first person plural possessive prefix, so nekeyoh is “our territory”. In Lheidli dialect nizdeh means “from the north”. There is considerable variation in the compass directions among Carrier dialects.

      Which Carrier dictionary did you use? There are a number out there, of varying quality and comprehensiveness, for various dialects.

      More generally, Carrier is a language in which possession is marked by inflection of the noun rather than by the use of separate possessive adjectives as in English. Possessed forms are made by adding prefixes to the noun, which in some cases takes on a distinct form when possessed. For example, we have the unpossessed form khelh “load”, and possessed forms such as sghel “my load”, neghel “our loads”, bughel “his/her load”, hubughel “their loads”. So “our” does not take the form of a separate word.

A good news story, and the exact opposite to the approach school district 57 is taking regarding First Nations inclusion and involvement. UNBC please continue to show us the “civilized” way forward. It take an institution of “higher learning” to be the example… go figure!

Hmmm… this news story has been out, with comments allowed, for almost an hour and a half, and still no race baiting, or racist comments, what’s up?

    Why are you trying to stir things up? Your second paragraph is totally unnecessary

I entered the word nizdeh nekeyoh in the search window on the UNBC site and got nothing.

The McCaffrey dedication is on the site, but not this story …. yet. Maybe in the future….. possibly even in the near future. :-)

The First Nations are the growing demographic in North Central BC. so it only makes sense to have them fully included in UNBC.

A large number of students in the future will be first nations.

Regardless or their origin the real problem at UNBC is getting students from all areas of the Country including foreign students.

Enrolments have been flat for a number of years. Not sure how they made out this year.

I find it interesting that JGalt is attempting to bait the so called race baiters.
I’ve seen so many threads on this blog where the mere fact that one disagreed with a position with regards to our FN peoples earned that person the title of Race Baiter according to Jgalt…now it seems he is not happy that people are actually discussing this issue from a positive point of view!

    I find it interesting that the majority of my comment is about encouraging and complimenting UNBC’s positive dialogue, and relationship, with First Nations, yet NyteHawwk selectively focuses on the last part of my comment, it takes a race baiter to do that I guess.

    She…why is it so difficult to diminish ?

      Ha, ha, you remembered… good memory you got there Rummy.

One other thing I noticed, to become even more “picky” is that the region in which UNBC operates is much larger than the Carrier language group covers as it goes both West and North.

I realize that the sign is on a campus located in PG. But the acronym for the name University of Northern British Columbia in English encompasses that territory, while the sign purports to have a Carrier language interpretation which is not really an indigenous language interpretation throughout the whole territory of UNBC.

So what would the sign in Prince Rupert, for instance, say? Or Fort St. John? Covering the Liard region of the northernmost part of BC would it include the Kaska language, for instance?

    Bill Poser ? What is the Delkeh interpretation for “get off our land”.

    That is a valid point. British Columbia contains over 30 First Nations languages belonging to seven different language families. At the family level, the native linguistic diversity of BC is greater than that of Europe. The UNBC catchment region contains six language families (everything but Kootenay). So it is quite true that neither Carrier in general nor Lheidli dialect Carrier in particular is the only language associated with UNBC. Since the main campus is in Lheidli T’enneh territory, it makes sense for things associated with that campus to be in Lheidli dialect Carrier, but it would certainly be appropriate for other languages to be used in other areas. I don’t know if UNBC has a general policy for deciding what language to use in what context.

    The UNBC motto is in Carrier but not Lheidli dialect. The verb huna “he/she/it lives” is distinctively Nak’azdli (Fort St. James). In other varieties it is khuna. In that case, I think that UNBC did not make a considered decision to use a particular dialect – they just asked the Carrier speaker who was handy.

Nice story about a sign, but what are the meat and potatoes of the memorandum of understanding ? I am sure some money has to be involved ???

I wonder if we will ever read a story about how the Lheidi Tenneh donated some money to a local, non native cause. I think that’s when the view of the LT will change in the community, because it seems like a one way street of donations and bending over for them.

Have they ever given money and sponsored a civic building or event? Anything? If so, when? I don’t recall hearing about it. Will people come back with the usual ‘they gave us this land and that’s the only donation we need’ crap?

Did you come up with that all on your own??? Or did your mommy help you type it?
Again all it took was a simple comment to be instantly labled!
Keep on trying there little guy!

And right on queue, the racists comments appear, this site rarely disappoints.

For those who want some general background, there is a short book entitled “The Carrier Language: A Brief Introduction” published by CNC Press, available at the CNC bookstore as well as other book stores, and in libraries.

    Thanks Bill, gonna get it.

Comments for this article are closed.