Plains Indian Sign Language Camp takes place at Poundmaker
- Kaitlynn Nordal | July 29, 2019
Floyd Favel, director and organizer, of the Plains Indian Sign Language Camp has had an interest in Plains Indian Sign Language since his teenage years.
“When I was a teenager, I seen the Plains Indian sign language in that sense by an old man from Montana,” he said. “I was curious about it. I didn’t know such a thing existed. So, I first became aware of it at that time.”
As a theatre director, Favel always looked for new methods and started implementing Plains Indian Sign Language but he quickly learned this could be a tool to teach about the Cree culture.
“Our languages are suffering right now. As I searched for methods, I realized the Plains Indian Sign Language would be one of the most effective ways of imparting and teaching language because it is action based. It’s based on words phrases of the Cree language and then the appropriate gesture or series of gestures,” he said.
Favel also worked in cultural development and noticed language was something that had started to disappear over the years.
“I always sought educational tools to teach our language and culture as they aren't taught in the conventional systems, they are not conducive. Sometimes they don’t work for language because our people don’t seem to be learning our language in schools and universities to the extent they should be,” he said.
Three years ago, when Favel got the idea for the camp, he knew this had to be done in the most culturally sensitive way and proper cultural protocols had to be followed. He flew down to Montana to meet with a Plains Indian Sign Language expert to present him with tobacco and to speak about this class. After flying back to Saskatchewan, he went about organizing the event.
Since they had worked together for years, Favel and those on Poundmaker Cree Nation thought it made sense to partner together for this camp.
The Plains Indian Sign Language Camp will be held on Poundmaker Cree Nation at the Chief Poundmaker Museum from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on July 28 until August 2.
The camp will be taught by Favel and a sign language instructor from Crow Agency Montana.
Participants will learn twenty or more Cree words or phrases per day.
Camp fees are $50 per day, including food and refreshments.
The camp is open to anyone regardless of if the participant is Indigenous or not.
“It’s open to all peoples Indigenous and non-Indigenous …. because it used to be used to be a universal language across the plains used by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” said Favel.
There is a limit of 30 spots for the camp this time around.
Since there has been so much interest in the camp, Favel is considering putting it on again in the winter.
For more information, contact Favel at (306)-317-3097, or email firstname.lastname@example.org