Left to right, Saskatchewan Indian Culture Centre president, Dorothy Myo, Gyasi Ross, a motivational speaker from the Blackfeet Nation, Zoe Hopkins, learned to speak her Mohawk language fluently five years ago.

About five years ago, Zoe Hopkins decided to learn her Mohawk language because of her father’s inspirational journey to learn Mohawk.

She said the hardest part was the amount of time it took to learn – about two years. Hopkins says the experience is very empowering.

“Learning the language has allowed me to be like a full participant in Longhouse ceremonies, so before I knew the language, our ceremonies are entirely in the language, I didn’t know what was being said,” said Hopkins. “So now that I’m sitting there, the ceremonial language is more advanced than where I’m at, so I can participate I can understand the vast majority of what’s being said.”

Saskatchewan Indian Culture Centre president, Dorothy Myo says the Language Keepers conference is a nationally-recognized conference.

She says that’s why they had different tribes like the Mohawk and Blackfoot share their language-retention successes.

“There’s a lot of people who have the same challenges in other jurisdictions, in other provinces and other countries of learning languages,” said Myo. “We wanted to search the different parts of the country to find people who are really doing some great things so our own 74 First Nations can listen and take advantage of their presentations.”

Myo said the message Gyasi Ross gave during his presentation on Wednesday, ‘go where the young people are,’ is such a wonderful and simple concept.

She said his words really resonated with the delegates.