[URBAN NOTE] "U of T assistant prof reviving Mohawk language"
The Toronto Star's Jesse Winter reports on how linguist Ryan DeCaire, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, is taking part in an ambitious revival of the Mohawk language.
When Ryan DeCaire was a kid, he couldn’t speak his own language.
Growing up in the Wahta Mohawk Territory near Bala, Ont., he’d often hear his elders speaking the mysterious tongue, but he never knew what they were saying.
“You’d hear it spoken sometimes, and you always wonder ‘oh, that’s my language but I can’t speak it,’ ” he says.
Now 29, DeCaire has not only learned to speak Kanien’kéha — the Mohawk language — but he’s leading a revival of it in the heart of downtown Toronto.
In July, DeCaire joined the University of Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Studies and the linguistics department as an assistant professor. He’s teaching the first-ever Mohawk language classes at the university, and helping to revive a language that eight years ago he feared might die out forever.