Support KXSA 2

image credit: Owen Perry

Language revitalization efforts have been underway in Klemtu for decades, beginning with development of the Xai’xais language curriculum at the Kitasoo Community School. In addition, since the early 1990s a major documentation effort has been made for Sgüüx̱s, a dialect of Southern Tsimshian, the language of the Kitasoo people.

The Kitasoo Xai’xais Language Revitalization project is steered by the Kitasoo Xai’xias Languages Working Group (KXLWG) under the guidance of the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation Council’s Resource Stewardship Department. Our group works together to document, save, teach and revive Kitasoo & Xai’xais languages so we may preserve them for future generations and reincorporate them into daily life.


The language revitalization project in Klemtu is striving to restore knowledge, appreciation and use of Klemtu’s heritage languages, Xai’xais and Sgüüx̱s. Because there are virtually no remaining fluent speakers of Sgüüx̱s in Klemtu, there has been a concerted effort to document and preserve this language. Hundreds of hours of recordings were made of the last fluent Sgüüxs-speaking Elder in Klemtu, Violet Neasloss. Violet passed in 2013 at the age of 99, leaving behind a legacy of dedication to protecting and preserving her cultural heritage. Without her efforts, we may have been too late to document this southern Tsimshian dialect spoken almost exclusively by the Kitasoo. Violet’s recordings have been systematically transcribed and digitized so they can be preserved forever. One of the major goals of the language revitalization project is to make these Sgüüx̱s resources available to the Klemtu community through a password protected online archive, CDs, curriculum and other learning materials.


Further work is needed to better document and preserve the Xai’xais language. The KXLWG has helped to advance the existing Xai’xais curriculum at the Kitasoo Community School by increasing Elder involvement in instruction and lesson planning. However, there is still much work to be done to fully document the Xai’xais language, which will help to further improve Xai’xais curriculum at the school. Nevertheless, the immersion opportunities created for the students by having in-house Elders available for class participation is just as important and effective at teaching language as is a strong curriculum. Another major goal of the project is to create a database of Xai’xais, much like the one developed for Sgüüx̱s, and make this resource available to the community through a password protected online archive, as well as other learning materials.

Community Involvement

Another important component of the project is getting the community involved in the language revitalization effort by hosting quarterly community language meetings to exchange ideas, to learn and celebrate KX heritage languages and to share the language resource materials developed by the KXLWG. Community members can also pick up learning materials at the Resource Stewardship Department in the KX Nation Office.

Our vision for the language revitalization project is to see Xai’xais and Sgüüx̱s fluency restored to a large percentage of the population of Klemtu. Over time, continued opportunities for the community to learn, share, and practice heritage languages will lead to a revitalized appreciation of and ability to use these languages in everyday life. Restoring pride in KX languages is critical to protecting our cultural heritage and strengthening the identity and sovereignty of the Kitasoo Xai’Xais Nation.


First People’s Cultural Council
A resource sharing the language programs offered to all site visitors
FirstVoices offers over 30 First Nations languages and provides access to Sgüüxs anytime.
FirstVoices Knowledge Base
Info on using FirstVoices and tips for language teams.


The KXLWG has built a relationship with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council by engaging them with thorough and reliable funding applications and project reporting. This will help to ensure continued language project funding and success into the future.

image credit: Moonfish Media