A donor who strongly believes in language preservation is helping UFV students to learn Halq’emeylem and Punjabi.
Dean of Arts Jacqueline Nolte and Modern Languages department head Ghizlane Laghzaoui hosted a reception on November 14th to honour Modern Languages award recipients along with and donor Dr. Malwinder S. Dhami and his family.
Dr. Nolte and Dr. Laghzaoui thanked Dr. Dhami and his son Jason for their family’s commitment to UFV’s students including establishing awards for Modern Languages students in Halq’emeylem (the language of the Sto:lo people) and Punjabi. Dr. Nolte shared details about Dr. Dhami’s generous commitment to UFV over the years, which were recognized at the 2018 Convocation when Dr. Dhami received an honorary degree.
Dr. Dhami spoke to the Modern Languages students on the importance of learning one’s mother tongue. He noted the fact that Halq’eméylem is threatened was part of what inspired him to generously support a leadership award for students to learn it.
“Storytelling is very important to the Aboriginal people. As Australian Indigenous author Alexis Wrights says, it’s a really important thing for Aboriginal people to remember how stories are told and the power of stories, and make it an important feature in our world again.
“To fully understand and enjoy these stories there is no other language besides your mother tongue.
“I feel strongly that your mother tongue is the only language in which you can learn, understand, pray, and preach your religion. You can better participate and enjoy your culture and related activities as well when you speak the language of your ancestors.”
Recipients of the third- and fourth-year Modern Language Institute Endowment Scholarship in French Studies, together with the first recipients of the Dhami Family Endowment Leadership Award (Halq’emelem) and the Dhami Family Endowment Leadership Award (Punjabi), were celebrated at the MOLA reception.