K’en T’em Limited Partnership and Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly announce discovery and naming of new moth species.

The latest addition to the tridentaforma genus has been dubbed sk?únk?l?itkax?n?i, pronounced shkwoon-kwleet-kaxh-nee, literally translating to “brown copper moth.”

Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly (CNA) N?e?kepmxcín manager Madelynn Albert worked with N?e?képmx elders, knowledge keepers, and several CNA and K’en T’em departments over the course of five weeks to come to a conclusion on the name.

“Within Nlaka’pamux territory, there are several different dialects of N?e?kepmxcín so I do try to reach out to different language keepers within different areas of the territory so that I can get their opinion or their history,” said Albert. “It’s usually like a couple hours each visit. Because they’re very open with their knowledge, and they’re very open to sharing.”

Albert was advised by a language keeper that she needed at least five language keepers in agreement with the name of the moth species before it was acknowledged as a new word.

In a press release announcing the naming and discovery of the moth, Amelia Washington shared the phrase “qw?cqwecúym? x tk nkikax?n? í,” loosely translating to warm climate moth, providing insight into the moth’s origin.

“So if we’re thinking in the traditional sense, if I were to introduce myself to you, I would say ‘hello, my name is Madelynn Albert, I’m from Cook’s Ferry,” said Albert. “It’s part of our introductory thing where we’re from, and kind of our family lineage, and it helps all individuals, place community members within certain family trees or certain family circles, and then they have a broader understanding of who you are.”

Albert explains that many traditional names are based on personality or behaviour, however, the team naming the moth was not able to be seen it in its natural habitat, thus choosing a more descriptive name.

“We weren’t able to see moth or see kind of how it interacts, or moves about, they kind of moved away from that and we went towards a more descriptor,” said Albert.

Albert believes this is a good step forward for the Nlaka’pamux People. “I think it is a really great and positive indicator to the collaborations and rela- tions that we’re having as a community as a whole,” said Albert. “We see a lot of work and words spoken around truth and reconciliation but when there’s actions brought forward, where they’re like, ‘what if we named this mark in the language,’ and there is no hesitation towards doing that, I think it’s really great and a real point of pride for our communication between different parties that we work with.”

“I think in working together with other language groups, connecting with NVIT and UBC and their language fluency certificate, and the language nest, and the elementary schools and how we can kind of work together to connect with what we have, so that we’re not tiring out or language keepers,” said Albert. And in doing that for the past year, I feel a lot more positive and optimistic in the light, kind of a light at the end of the tunnel, and our learning and bringing back and revitalizing our language.”