The Skidegate Haida Immersion Program (S.H.I.P.) was founded in 1998, following a ten day extremely popular Skidegate Haida Immersion Summer Session.
We have grown into a viable community program, and are able to attract a few new students each year. Adults who previously had never thought that they could learn to speak Haida have become an inspiration to others. We also participate in many community events, and often we are asked to contribute to research of Haida traditions and names. We continue to maintain a high profile among community members and organizations Gwaii Haanas – Parks Canada , Haida Gwaii Museum and School District #50. Whenever possible, we send a representative to First Nations Language conferences to glean new methodologies of language preservation and revitalization, and to share with other programs what we have found to be working well at the community level.
S.H.I.P. has been recording the Skidegate Haida Language, and has produced over 120 instructional CD-ROM’s for use at home, in the S.H.I.P. Program, in schools in the community, and Haida’s living off island. Within the S.H.I.P. Program there are 10 very committed and dedicated Elders who are fluent speakers of the Skidegate Haida Language. The average age of our Elders is 80 years of age. The Elders attend S.H.I.P. five days a week, ten months of the year. They represent approximately 50% of today’s fluent Skidegate Haida speakers. Their efforts to revitalize the Skidegate Haida Language are genuine, and from the heart. Respect for their ancestors, the language, and its many dialects have been of utmost importance.
The goal of the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program is to preserve and revitalize Skidegate Haida Language, and to have it once again become the language spoken in the households of Skidegate and in Haida families living off island, and that future generations of Haida people will be able to speak the Skidegate Haida Language, and pass their language on to their children.