“Still, We Live On,” a powerful documentary made by the Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation in partnership with Cal Poly Humboldt, tells the important story of Tolowa language resilience and revival for future generations. This is done be through the voices of elders, knowledge keepers, ancestors and the Tolowa community
“Our goal in making this film was to share with the public, our own Tolowa public, and the world about the moving pieces and those individuals who are germane to this project,” Loren Me’-lash-ne Bommelyn, Tolowa linguist and historian said.
“The most impactful part about this documentary, I think, is actually pulling all the footage together and being able to see the players who were actually involved with,” Marva Sii~xuutesna Jones, Tolowa language and culture division manager. “You know, as from pre contact to contemporary writing it into the writing system and seeing who all the players were.and a lot of them are my family so it makes you feel really good to be able to carry that forward.”
The film shows the history of Tolowa tradition and language, the destruction of those traditions during colonization, and the push for revitalization.
The Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation has been working on their language restoration efforts for decades now.
“The door of time nearly closed on us luckily, it didn’t […] so through that we reserve and conserve and make available to the future a very clear aspect to understanding and interpretation of our language,” Bommelyn. “How it can be used, how it can be spoken, how we can extend it into the present day.and that whole process is what we were trying to share here in this short film.”
“Our language is so vital to who we are as Indian people, it really does share our world view and how our people describe things, experience things,” Jones said. “When we get into the etymology of the language, it really does give it that piece and really anchors in our identity as Indian people.”
This free screening will be on Saturday November 11 at 2pm. It’ll be be located at the Cal Poly Humboldt Native American Forum (BSS 162).