Aiyana Twigg, who graduated from UBC in spring 2022 with a double major in First Nations and Endangered Languages and Anthropology, was awarded the 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s medal for inclusion, democracy and reconciliation.
In fall 2020, Twigg was looking for a way to encourage her peers to engage with their language and history. She started an Instagram page called KtunaxaPride. “This page will be dedicated to teaching, learning, and talking about the Ktunaxa language, culture, history, territory, and worldview of who we are as Ktunaxanin̓tik,” she wrote in one of her first posts.
Although it was geared to her own community, she quickly gained followers from other Indigenous communities. Many reached out to tell her how much her page had inspired them to connect with their own languages.
“It became a space for people to connect and discuss and for them not to feel shame if they made a mistake,” Twigg told CBC in a recent interview. “For non-Indigenous people, it encouraged them to learn about Indigenous people, culture and language.”
In recognition of her contributions to inclusion, democracy and reconciliation, Twigg was awarded the 2022 Lieutenant Governor medal at her UBC graduation ceremony in May 2022. “This award is a symbol and recognition that we Indigenous people are breaking down colonial barriers, making change, and we are still here,” she says.
Next year, Twigg will participate in an intensive language immersion program through the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. She also plans to work on curriculum development with her community members, and finish a research project identifying gaps in the Ktunaxa writing system. She hopes to eventually continue her work with a masters in Indigenous language revitalization.
Please read the full story at the Faculty of Arts website.
Under Strategy 17: Indigenous Engagement, the university is committed to supporting the objectives and actions of the Indigenous Strategic Plan.