Presenter Information

Makha Blu Wakpa
Alice Taff


Payne Family Native American Center, Room 103

Start Date

13-6-2022 4:00 PM

End Date

24-6-2022 5:30 PM


During this workshop, together we'll become aware of connections between language use and wellbeing. We'll talk about how different cultures define health. (“Western Desert Aborigines see 'health' not only in the absence of sickness, but more positively: on the physical side, in the presence of coldness and dryness in the body, and on the spiritual side, in having one’s spirit in the area of the stomach. Conversely, when the spirit moves to the back of a person or leaves the body altogether, when the body is hot and wet, then the person is considered sick.” Peile, A. R. 1997 Body and Soul: An Aboriginal View. Victoria Park, WA: Hesperian Press. p. xxi.) We'll review some case studies connecting ancestral language use to rates of diabetes, suicide, and substance abuse. (Oster, Richard, Angela Grier, Rick Lightning, Maria J. Mayan, and Ellen L. Toth. 2014. Cultural continuity, traditional Indigenous language, and diabetes in Alberta First Nations: a mixed methods study. International Journal for Equity in Health 13(92). (doi:10.1186/s12939-014-0092-4)) (Hallett, D., Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. (2007). Aboriginal Language Knowledge and Youth Suicide. Cognitive Development 22 (3), pp. 392–399.) (Chandler, M. J. & Lalonde, C. E. (2008). Cultural Continuity as a Protective Factor against Suicide in First Nations Youth. Horizons --A Special Issue on Aboriginal Youth, Hope or Heartbreak: Aboriginal Youth and Canada’s Future. 10(1), 68-72.)) Weʼll share eye witness accounts of language use and its relation to health from our own and othersʼ experiences. Weʼll consider the difference between correlation and causation. Weʼll consider various health factors; emotional, physical, social, spiritual, economic, educational and how we might collect evidence-based data to support language-health causation. Weʼll practice our arguments to authorities [family, community, legislature, health industry, congress] to support ancestral Indigenous language based on the health benefits it provides.



syllabus.docx (12 kB)