BLUEBERRY RIVER, B.C. – A Blueberry River First Nations member is now an author with the release of her first book ‘Beaver Basics 1′.
The book was released during the band’s culture camp last month, where Sydney Davis signed and handed out copies of her book.
The book shares common Beaver words translated to English and Indigenous Sign Language.
This is the second book released by Gamaats Consultants and written by a young Blueberry River author, sharing Beaver culture and language. Sydney’s cousin Tichia Davis released a Dane-zaa creation story titled “The First Beaver Story” last year, and it is being used across School District 60 during cultural studies.
Davis is a young mother who says she is proud to see her kids grow up in an environment rich with her Beaver language and culture.
“This book is dedicated to our young and old generations who no longer have speakers within reach,” said Davis.
“Our Dane-zaa language is the key to our power. Without this key, we won’t be able to get to the hidden treasures that are buried under the surface.”
Davis created and wrote the book as part of a project to obtain her Adult Dogwood (High School) Diploma. She was able to accomplish specific diploma criteria through writing, editing, and taking photos for the book.
Tristan Cox, the band’s adult education teacher, foresees many more sequels to Beaver Basics I due to the culture and traditions of the Beaver People being vast.
The use of Indigenous Sign Language on each word is a unique way to support early learning and engagement between a reader and child, Davis notes. Sign language allows children to communicate and express themselves before their speech fully develops and increases parent-child bonding.
The book launch party, held at the Blueberry River First Nations Culture Camp on July 27th, was well attended. Davis was on hand with her publisher and Indigenous Language Revitalization expert, Colleen Austin of Gamaats Consultants, her teacher Cox, and her Grandmother Bella Davis, who provided Sydney with the correct translation and spelling of Beaver words.
“There’s not many of us around anymore that still speak the language fluidly,” said Bella.
“I’m not good at computers, but I’m very good in the language. I’m proud of her (Sydney) and all her work.”
Everyone in attendance got a free signed copy of the book, as well as a Beaver Basics bag containing Beaver flash cards and mini books.
Austin is a strong advocate for bringing talented First Nations artists with a vision and a desire to share their culture and language into print.
“If you have an idea and would like to share it, we will find the money to make it happen,” said Austin. “It’s the cultural background and unique voices of the authors that’s the important message.”
Culture days is a two-day event that was held in the traditional territory of Pink Mountain. Other events included nature walks, tea dances, a talent show, drum making, archery and hand games.
Co-host of the APTN show Moosemeat and Marmalade, Art Napolean, was the emcee for the event and dazzled the crowd with a stew and bannock cooking demonstration over the fire.
“It’s so important that the people gather and reconnect to share stories, the language and culture, out on the land. The land remembers you,” said Napolean.
To find out more or to obtain a copy of the book, contact the Blueberry River First Nations band office at (250) 630-2800.
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