Miyawata Culture Inc. and the Poundmaker Cree Nation are putting on a Plains Indian sign language camp.

The event began on Sunday and will finish on Friday at the Chief Poundmaker Museum.

“We’re seeking alternative methods of teaching the Cree language,” says Plains Indian sign language camp organizer Floyd Favel. “We must do all that we can in order to teach and impart the Cree language to those who may have lost their language.”

Workshops are taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dr. Lanny Real Bird of Crow Agency, Montana is the facilitator for this week’s camp and is one of the only fluent speakers of Plains Indian sign language on the Plains.

Favel says the idea for the event came to him after Real Bird visited the Poundmaker First Nation in 2017 to do a presentation.

There are approximately 1,000 known Plains Indian sign language speakers left.

“Our languages are in a state of crisis and we must do what we can to ensure their survival,” says Poundmaker Headman Milton Tootoosis.

Favel said that he is thinking of holding the camp again this winter.

(PHOTO: Chief Poundmaker. Photo courtesy Canadian Encyclopedia.)