Podcaster uniting Dene Athabaskan speakers across the continent

Willis Janvier has speakers of many Dene Athabaskan languages, from Saskatchewan to Arizona

Dene Athabaskan languages spread vast across much of North America, and one man has set out to teach it online through a video podcast.

Willis Janvier is from La Loche, Sask. and currently lives in Moose Jaw where he’s studying Indigenous social work at First Nations University of Canada.

When he used to work in Fort McMurray, Akta., and his daughter lived more than 10 hours away from him, he would search for Denesųłıné videos he could listen to on Youtube, but there weren’t many, he said.

He quit his job, went to university and started up “Willy FM,” at first, recording his conversations with friends and family. When they learned about his idea to create more Denesųłıné content, he was met with encouragement. 

Then, people back home in La Loche, where students learn from majority Dene-speaking teachers, started encouraging him to keep making videos in Denesųłıné in late November.

“That was the thing that drove me to keep going,” he told Trail’s End host Lawrence Nayally. 

“Now, you can go on Youtube and hear the language any time, instead of the scarce little videos that were hard to find.”

Read more: CBC

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