Catherine Coldwell


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Home: Fort St James
Years Working Towards Language Revitalization: 50

Catherine Coldwell is a language champion because she has the determination to help restore, revitalize and maintain the Dak'elh language in the Carrier communities of central British Columbia.

After her husband's death in 1969, Catherine began work to support and raise her family. After holding down several jobs in the community, she decided to focus on teaching her language and culture.

In the late 1980s, Catherine enrolled in and graduated from the Yukon Native Language Instructors Program. Then she dedicated her time and energy to developing an adult language learning module, teaching the teachers, teaching language and culture In her community, advising on curriculum development, and editing many children's books about Dak'elh legends and culture. She carries this knowledge to the Daycare Centre, where she strongly believes the notion that education is a lifelong endeavour and it is a tool that ought to be accessible to all people, especially our children.

Her community service includes involvement in various committees, such as the Carrier Linguistic Committee, teaching in the school district elementary schools, teaching the teachers through the Yinka Dene Language Institute, and later through the University of Northern British Columbia. She recently finished a post-retirement contract with UNBC.

Catherine is a role model who displays the determination and the motivation to accomplish the survival of the Dak’elh peoples' basic right to their mother tongue. Her genuine work ethic and her ability to maintain a sense of humility should be acknowledged.

Nominated by Margaret Mattress