Reclaiming Indigenous Languages

“Reclaiming Indigenous Languages” –  TVO Interview with Rebecca Jamieson, Six Nation Polytechnic Institute (22 August 2016)

Background History

What leads to an Indigenous language to disappear? 

 Most influencing factor was the residential schools where indigenous language was forbidden and native american students were punished for it.

 Canadian Encyclopedia on Residential Schools (sourced):

 Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools established to assimilate Aboriginal children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in New France, the term usually refers to the custodial schools established after 1880. Originally conceived by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Aboriginal youth and to integrate them into Canadian society, residential schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Aboriginal peoples. Since the last residential school closed in 1996, former students have pressed for recognition and restitution, resulting in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2007 and a formal public apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008. In total, an estimated 150,000 First Nation, Inuit, and Métis children attended residential schools.

Second factor is remote native american communities who have children speaking in their native language, but got satellite television years past and now because of the English language exposure have started losing it. 

 It is important to have in place measures to keep important languages in practice to keep them from becoming linguistically, culturally and historically extinct. In response some communities started by parents in past couple of decades have started programs such as Adult Immersion and Full Immersion for Primary and Secondary schooling.
 The Truth and Reconciliation Committee along with other movements such as Idle No More have made calls to action where Post-Secondary Institutions have answered the call and are doing something in order to promote Indigenous reconciliation. Some have made Indigenous studies mandatory.

 It is Rebecca Jamieson’s personal desire that whatever the case that there will be thoughtful responses so that hopefully there are no reactionary opinions and attitudes.

*Use education for Indigenous purposes

*Preserve Indigenous Knowledge

*Recover Indigenous Languages (those near extinction before disappearing for good)

*Revitalize Indigenous Languages (become more spoken in native communities so that Native Americans don’t have to face the concern of identity)

*Students who gain a degree in these Indigenous languages, whether they are Native and from Six Nations or not or Non-Native, can then be certified to:

 *teach the language to the next generation

 *offer bilingual services in their communities, much like the Canadian 

 government has bilingual English/French.

 *Do research such as history, genealogy, language, etc.


Historical Treaty Belts called Wompum Belts were given to each of the partners by the Six Nations of People (Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Kuga, Onondaga and Seneca). A 

Canadian Encyclopedia on Wompum:

 Wampum are tubular purple and white beads made from shells. Wampum are used primarily by Aboriginal peoples of the Eastern Woodlands for ornamental, ceremonial, diplomatic and commercial purposes. Because of its prominence as a currency in the period following European contact, wampum has become synonymous with currency. Belts made of wampum were used to mark agreements between peoples, and are of particular significance with regards to treaties and covenants made between Aboriginal peoples and European colonial powers.

 Wompum belts assist Native American peoples to record their history, know who they are as a people and who their leaders are. The belts were the Native American way to documenting agreements or treaties with Colonials who they became allied with or partners for trade, war, etc. Wompum belts are read looking at the east to the west.

 Partners who received the Wompum Belts aslo called by Rebecca Jamieson as a Convenant Belt or Belt of Friendship include:

 *McMaster University

 *University of Western Ontario

 *Brock University

 * Laurier



 *Mohawk College

 *Niagara College

These are some of the Post-Secondary Education Institutions who have responded to the TRC’s call to action to work in creatiing with Indigenous Peoples (such as Six Nations) formalized Indigenous Language programs accredited. Meaning that one can gain a diploma or a type of degree because of this partnership.

 Six Nations Polytechnic Institute offers a 2-year diploma which can be continued at McMaster with the 3-year bachelor of arts undergraduate degree on Ogwehoweh (Ogg-way-hoe-way) languages such as Mohawk and Cayuga. These two languages are most prevalent, the most likely to survive and be spoken in their native communities. 

 The Degree is not only language acquisition but also understanding the culture and understanding the historical context of the language. You will have of course a lexicon and grammar study, like studying other language. There is however no literature to bring into the classroom, for a number or reasons such as Indigenous custom was to pass down stories and culture orally and the languages are in the stage or preservation and revitalization. The Institute then has to create these literature resources as they go, so that students can read in the Native language as they study and learn them.

 When the Institute received consent to offer the degree through McMaster, they had received consent for a 3-year under graduate degree under the condition that they would develop the 4th year so that students could go onto graduate study if they wished. This is now the current task as the Institute continues to forge ahead with their strategy to revitalize the Indiginous languages and fill the gaps in post-secondary education for members of their community.

 The Insitute is working on adding the other 6 languages which also need attention. There are no Tuskarora First Nations speakers left, so the Institute has to contact with other Six Nations communities who learned it as a second language. There are also very few Seneca or Onondaga first language speakers left. Initiatives have been made to preserved them through recordings of the first language speakers and creation of dictionaries so the Institute can have something to go back and reference when reviving the language in the expansion of these post-secondary programs.

 This accredited degree program at McMaster is the first stand-alone degree of its kind, which is historic in terms of preserving Indigenous languages. The Ontario Minister of Training for Colleges and Universities came to the Six Nations community to acknowledge and celebrate the occasion of the only stand-alone degree in the country that represented the communities’ priority to conservation of their Indigenous language, to which they were very touched and moved by his gesture.

 In addition to the degree program, the Institute offers additional qualification courses for teachers in Ontario to be able to teach Mohawk and Cayuga. They will work to add the other 6 six languages as they will for the McMaster degree program. This is possible because the Six Nations Polytechnic Institute, which is established under the jurisdiction and located in First Nations territory (unlike public colleges and universities), an accredited provider through the Ontario College of Teachers. Because of the jurisdictional issue, the Institute does not have the authority to issue degrees unless they obtain it through the Minister of Training Colleges and Universities.

Six Nations Polytechnic Institute: Founding and Future

 The Institute was established in First Nations territory of the Six Nations because the community would need to own a learning Institute for higher education eventually. This was to address the gap of students not having access to public universities or colleges, thus to establish qual opportunity to access as other Canadians in the country. This community and institute also house other First Nations residents such as Delaware.

 The Six Nations Polytechnic Institute is expanding to Branford Campus will have technologies programs and also house their virtual archives with the I.P. infrastucture for all their language preservation work. They also have starting in the fall of 2016 a 1 year Indigenous Visual Arts with partnership with OCACU, such as pottery.

Call to Action for First Nations, Metis and Inuit

*If Canada acknowledged officially the Indigenous Languages, it would move the revitalization efforts, like moving a mountain. 

*Assist in finding historical documents, perhaps by historical figures who made first contact with the Indigenous Peoples, where the language, customs, ceremonies, oral traditons, etc is documented for the purpose of assisting in preservation and revitalization. Along side are the need to preserve what the elders in our communities still remember before for they pass away and we are at a loss without them.

 These can in turn be turned into resources to help students, teachers, professors, historians and the general public learn the Indigenous languages and Native American culture and be able to pass it on and teach it to future generations.

 This can be as simple as creating a bilingual interlinear childrens book. Interlinear means to have the English and the other language placed one on top of the other in parallel lines so one can learn either language by connecting the words and it’s grammatical usage. Transliteration can also be used if the alphabet is foreign to the reader with characters or pronouciations are difficult or there is rooms for inaccuaracy. This means that the English equivalent with syallable breaks with be used much like reading an English dictionary and learning how to properly pronouce the word for further use. In this case it can be used to ensure the proper pronounciation of Indigenous languages is used for learning it. Perhaps a cd or mp3 download code can be added to the back of the book in very slow, slow and regular speed so that the reader can follow along as they practice. (reference Rabbi Jonathan Bernis “Confessing the Hebrew Scriptures”)

 Additional grammatical or lexicon notes can always be added for educational purposes in the footnotes on the bottom of the page in smaller print. Imagine going to a bookstore franchise, online or in-store, and having an Indigenous language section available to the general public promoting this effort.

 These kinds of formats will assist in the general public learning efficiently and effortlessly without the need for formalized and costly education sources with potential for online learning through social media, such as instructive YouTube videos.

 *Exposure in high degrees to foreign languages in media when trying to keep your Indigenous language in practice is difficult. Media can be created in those Indigenous tongue, which is costly with a very small market and broadcasting difficult unless sold directly to dvd with funded viewing through cinemas. (Reference the film “Beyond the Mask”). The most effective is to have programs created to automatically translate the media programs with ad-lib voice overs. (Reference “Sid Roth’s: It’s Supernatural”) There is a computer program that can take the original audio and replace it with audio of Indigenous language being spoken in conjuction with matching it to a person’s mouth movement. The end result is that you cannot tell that it wasn’t the original language being spoken in the original recording.

 This can also be combined with teaching Indigenous history and the languages can be changed for educating the rest of the world about our culture, history, oral traditions, ways of life. Fictional or non-fictional series can be made in animation or live action or even video gaming to create mulitiple avenues for educational and preservation purposes.

 *Fundraise or find sponsors for grants, scholarships, etc to promote these Indigenous language programs and the students taking them for the purpose of history research, genealogy and prevent its extinction. Additional courses can also include other aspects of Indigenous culture; for the Metis it would include finger weaving to make the Metis sash, cooking historical foods with emphasis on traditional hunting, types of game and food for foraging, music with fiddle and jigging, etc. Museums of History such as the Smithsonian, genealogy research giants such as Ancestry and FamilySearch can be potential future partners if they can see its potential.
Additional Information 

 Every 3 years the World Indigenous Conference is hosted in Toronto (b/c of the size) and will have hundreds of workshops. 


“Residential Schools” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web 23 Aug. 2016

“Wompum” The Canadian Encylopedia. N.p., n.d. Web 23 Aug. 2016


Song of Songs 2:3-4

Song of Songs 2:3-4

My apologies for the long absence, I took a long ‘hiatus’ and dabbled in a couple other projects and a couple of breaks.

Now I’m back and starting a new series, called Bible Study where I take some verses of the Bible and using a couple of techniques really open up the Word of God to offer some messages of encouragement to draw us near to Christ and His amazing love for us. 

This series includes some Jewish Roots as Yeshua/Jesus IS Jewish and the entire Old and New Testament is Jewish, with the exception of the book authors, such as Luke. Another technique I love to use is taking some of the words that pop out at me and finding the symbolism to open up the scripture and re-writing it with desire to know what is God’s heart and what He wants to reveal to me about this passage. 

God speaks to each of us in our own language and I pray you will learn to hear His voice and how He is revealing Himself in the text, drawing you closer to Him. If you looking for books on hearing His voice I would recommend you watch some of the episode of Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” as he has invited many guests to talk about that very subject. So that whichever episode God is speaking to you through, by your interest and desire for their material, God can then use them to teach you to hear Him more clearly.

I’m currently reading from a book purchased on Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” called A Prophetic Calendar: Feasts of Israel by Jill Shannon and reading the first chapter had this amazing verse to start it off: 

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover

among the young men.

I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Song of Songs 2:3-4

Biblical Symbolism (in order):

Apple: spiritual fruit; apple of God’s Eye (Jews); God’s care; security of the believer [because we are loved by God.

Tree: individual person/church; covering; sanctuary; Jesus; a nation or denomination; * note the health or where the tree is planted.

Forest: Nations of the world or church.

Sitting: Power; Throne or [authority/God]; rulership; rest; position; mercy seat; Kingship of the Lord.

Shade/Shadow: covered by the LORD for safety; to be protected. [*Under His Wings…]

Sweet: reflection and meditation in the Word of God; Christians in service unto God; Word of God [bread/mannah]; fellowship with the spirit.

Banquet: having plenty and being well satisfied with needs [physicial and spritual]; abundance; joy and blessings church; service; worship; celebrating victory [in Christ]; not regarding the Lord by partying; choosing what you want as opposed to receiving what you need.


I like to interpret the scripture section from start to finish, like an Amplified Bible and/or Passion Translation using the symbolism highlighted above that digs deaper into His Word. As Proverbs  25:2 would say “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out.” (Messianic Jewish Family Bible)

Like [God’s Chosen People, the Jews/ Bride of Christ] in the midst of the nations of the world, we are set apart. I delight to rest and rule over the Kingdom of darkness from a position of authority under the covering of the Lord, Who is my Protector. In His sweet presence He feeds me mannah from Heaven, a divine download of His Spirit, His Ways and revelations of being a beloved Child of God. He has taken me out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God where all my needs are cared for, because He cares for me. As a beloved child I have a life of abundant joy and blessings, where everything I touch is marked by His unmeritied favour, a life of grace. Touched by a love so passionate, every breath I breathe is a passionate service and act of worship to a most beloved King. Victory is a cry of the heart of a believer who knows they are loved, like the shofar that sounds as a signal praise unto God. Praising God is the sound of victory, the sound of one who is most beloved.

SHOFAR/SHOPHAR: “The shophar was to be blown on the Day of Atonement in the Jubilee Year to signal the release of slaves and debt [SALVATION]. It was also used as a trumpet of war as the Israelites were campaingning against their enemies. ~Mike Mitchell ” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.)

The use of the shadow is in parallel with being under God’s Wings and relates symbolically to the Jewish Prayer Shawl and how it is used in a Jewish Wedding. I would like to quote the Jewish use of the Chuppah from The Little Book of Jewish Celebrations by Ronald Tauber, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova. p.168-169:


The wedding ceremony takes place under the chuppah, an often ornately decorated wedding canopy that is open on all four sides, symbolizing the open and welcoming home the bride and groom intend to build together. The groom enters the canopy first, and when the bride arrives, she circles the groom seven times, symbolizing their protection of one another; at some weddings, the room also circles the bride.

The religious compoenent of the ceremony then follows and is broken into two parts, which today occur sequentially at the weeding. The ceremony begins with the first part kiddushin (bethrothal, sometimes also called erusin). The rabbi leading the ceremony recites two blessings: the traditional blessing over wine and a blessing acknowledging that God is a partner in sanctifying the marriage; the second blessing ends with the phrase, “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Kind of the universe, who sanctifies His people, Israel, by means of the wedding canopy and consecrated marriage.”

The room then takes a ring and places it on the bride’s forefinger on the right hand and recites the ancient prescription for marriage: “With this ring, you are wedded to me in accordance with the law of Moses and Israel.” In many modern wedding ceremonies, the bride also places a ring on the groom’s finger and recites: “With this ring I am wedded to you in accordance with the laws of Moses and Israel.”

The ketubah is then read in Aramaic and often summaraized in English as well. From a religious point of view, the couple is now legally married under Jewish law and the ceremony prodceeds to the second part, called the nissuin (marriage). Seven blessings celebrating the marriage are recited by the rabbi or by invited guests. The blessings focus on God’s creation of humanity and the union of man and woman. At the conclusion of the blessins, the couple drinks from a single cup of sine to seal their union.

Sheva Brachot: (Hebrew for Seven Blessings) During the week following the wedding, the bride and groom are feted at dinners and parties. A the Grace after Meals at these events, the same Seven Blessings that were recited under the canopy are reprised and the bride and groom again share a cup of wine. (Tauber)

*This book is written from the point of view of a Jew who does not believe or follow Yeshua/Jesus and because of the false teachings (ie rabbinical Judaism), it is important to always use the Word of God as a framework to check all ideology presented in books when learning about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith from those who have not given their lives to Christ.

The reason I wanted to reference a Jewish wedding is the Chuppah compenent where there is a covering over the Bride and Groom, which is symbolic of Christ and the Church. We are covered under His Wings and I am reminded of an elaboration of the Prayer Shawl in the glossary of William J. Morford’s The One New Man Bible: Revealing Jewish Roots & Power:

“One of the most beautiful scenes in Scripture involving the prayer shawl is Ruth 3:9. Ruth pulled the prayer shawl of Boaz over her when she lay at his feet. Most translations say she pulled his skirt over her, but the Hebrew says she pulled his wing over her. The wing alludes to the long established Hebrew tradition referring to the way a male bird opens his wings when he mates with his bride. The tradition in Jewish has been for a bridegroom to cover his bride with his prayer shawl at their wedding. This tradition evolved into the present hupah, which is a prayer shawl held up by four poles to cover the bride and groom for their wedding ceremony. When Ruth pulled the prayer shawl of Boaz over her, she in effect was saying “Let’s get married.” Boaz understood that by his immediate response, acknowledging is role as kinsmen redeemer.” (Morford)

In addition to how Ruth came under Boaz wings, this Jewish Boaz himself would greet the Gentile Ruth with a prophetic blessing, knowing not what was to happen: “Boaz replied and said to her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death has been fully reported to me-how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people you did not know before. May Adonai repay you for what you have done, and may you be fully rewarded by Adonai, God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.’ 

As I hope you know, not only was Ruth and Boaz in the Messianic lineage, but they were also representative of how Christ is our kisnmen redeemer and their whole story is a parallel of Christ and the Church. It is a blessing but still in standing with Yeshua/Jesus’s promis in John 14:13-14 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” So low and behold Boaz blesses the Moabite woman, Ruth, in the name of Adonai, the God of Israel, and He became her Provider … by providing her a kinsmen redeemer and husband.

So let me take a moment to bless you, in the name of Adonai, the God of Israel, that you may know Him personally as your Provider. May He cover you with His Wings and find shelter and rest in His sweet loving presence. May you know and be so moved by the love of God that you cannot contain the fire. May you be so deeply rooted in His unquenchable love for you that you cannot be moved by any storm you face. May your love for God burn so strong that you are purified and refined as fine gold, for you are precious in His sight.

Other similar stories include the prophet Hosea’s marriage to the scandalous prostitute and the redemption story symbolic of Christ redemption on the cross for the nation of Israel. Each of these stories illustrate God’s mercy and ultimately the overwhelming power of His love to redeem those He loves. “…but love covers up all transgressions.“Psalsms 10:12

I am including a list of verses that illustrate how we are under His wings: 

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets and stone those sent to her! How often I longed to gather you children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but but you were not willing!  Matthew 23:37

As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young,  He spreads His wings, catches him, lifts him up on His pinions.   Deuteronomy 32:11

Protect me like the pupil of the eye. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings,  Psalms 17:8

How precious is Your love, O God! The children of men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.  Psalms 36:7

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for in You my soul takes refuge. In the shadows of Your wings I take refuge until destruction passes by. Psalms 57:1

Let me dwell in Your tent forever. Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.  Psalms 61:4

For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.  Psalms 63:7

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness is body armour and shield. Psalms 91:4

In times when we study His Word, God would like to draw us close and in His sweet presence reveal to us personally, in our own language, the truth of His Word. He wants to activate what you have studied and empower your spirit man with His love which is woven throughout the pages of the Bible. That is was revelation is. It is not anything we do to obtain because we need some kind of spiritual progress. It is the love of a Father teaching us the Ways of His Kingdom to His children. As Jesus taught the disciples: “But Yeshua said, ” Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Messianic Jewish Family Bible)


Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, and Archie England. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible, 2003. Print.

Morford, William J. The One New Man Bible: Revealing Jewish Roots & Power. Travelers Rest: True Potential, 2011. Print.

Tauber, Ronald. The Little Book of Jewish Celebrations. San Francisco: Chronicle LLC, 2014. Print.

*DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for purchases with any vendor linked throuhout the content. The links are only for reference to material used and sourced for this post. All links for materials are default to US sites unless specified to country of origin. If you are purchasing from another country and the site has a local url to your region for better pricing, discounts, or determines availability. 

DISCLAIMER: Featured Image via Flickr by Alan Turkus called “Under the Chuppah” which has an Attribution license. No changes to image have been made.   Link to the License:

Handi Mandi TV – New Exclusive Content

You can now get interactive with Handi Mandi as she plans out upcoming projects . . .

  • Make requests for upcoming project episodes;
  • input on current and upcoming projects;
  • input on creating projects using current supplies;
  • feedback on previous projects;
  • etc

For example (as of Early January 2013):

Creating a jewellery display using an old picture frame, metal mesh and some small door knobs.

Handi Mandi TV – Christmas & New Year: Food & Drink

Here are a couple of tricks to spice up your Christmas or New Year get-togethers.

Just a quick FYI: all drinks featured in this video are completely virgin, not a single spec of alcohol. So these are safe for kids during your holiday festivities.

Freshen up your cheese platters with gourmet crackers and cheeses.
~ The good gourmet crackers can be found in the deli section at the grocery store or at a gourmet shop.
~ Deli cheese that I would recommend are double or triple cream Brie cheese (single cream is almost a liquid), plain or flavoured goat cheese, Camembert, or anything smoked or featured at the deli or gourmet shop.
*Be sure to try a sample if can, so you can make sure it’s a good choice before purchase, staff are usually quite accommodating.
~ Toppers for your cheese can be any combination of the following:
nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachio, etc);
fresh or dehydrated fruits or even the pie fillings (cranberry, apricot, pitted dates, orange, tangerine, clementine, apple, pear, pomegranate, figs, etc);
herbs (parsley, cilantro, cayenne, chili, etc);
jellies, like roasted red pepper;
maple syrup;

Toppings or additives to your hot beverage (like coffee, hot chocolate, some teas):
powdered candy cane (can also be mixed into bakery mix before cooking or into or onto frosting)
whipped cream
shaved chocolate
cocoa powder (or just a sprinkle of hot cocoa mix as a cheaper alternative)

Tropical Shirley Temple:
1/3 – 1/2 glass of fruit juice (completely or mostly real fruits; mango, orange, etc)
Ginger Ale (fill the rest of the glass)
Grenadine Syrup (add to taste)
Fruit slice and/or maraschino cherry on a toothpick, sword or tropical umbrella

I would love to hear your requests, comments, feedback or what you do to spice up your Christmas, New Years or Holiday Festivities.

Links – Christmas Decor:
Glitter Pine Cone Centerpiece
Super Easy Candle Centerpiece on a Budget
Decorative Porch Planter
Metallic, Glitter & Lights
DIY Vase with Epson Salt
DIY Wreath
DIY Tree Make Over