Andrew Cienski

Since 2006, I have had the privilege of working with Elders and communities around Vancouver Island and the NWT. My journey began with a two year long collaboration with an Elder to document his oral history in two languages. Our collaboration changed the course of my life, dedicating me to documentation and revitalization. For about three years I worked with Elders from Cowichan Tribes to explore how their traditional knowledge might be used to set the foundation of HIV intervention programming. Since then, I have teamed with Elders and community language activist to develop teaching materials based on oral teaching methods, and guided by the Elders with whom I work. I worked briefly for the University of Victoria’s SENĆOŦEN IST  program, and still teach courses for UVic on occasion. Since 2010, I’ve been working with the Esquimalt Nation to transcribe and translate oral history and create a Lekwungen dictionary. I currently work for the Gwich’in Tribal Council where I collaborate with Elders, teachers, and learners to develop language programs and learning materials. We have developed early reader story books, a language learning app, classroom curricula and resources for non-fluent teachers in our community Language Nests and evening programs, as well as resources for our Mentor Apprentice teams. Over my time I have realized the critical importance of capacity development, for learners as well as teachers. For this reason, I strive to develop partnerships between communities and institutions to better share knowledge and resources.

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  • SENĆOŦEN   oral history documentation (transcription & translation)
  • Lekwungen oral history documentation (transcription & translation) dictionary development
  • Hul’q’umi’num’ oral history documentation (transcription & translation)
  • Gwich’in (Teetł’it and Gwichyah Gwich’in) educational resource development


  • 2005 to present various independent oral history documentation projects
  • 2009 to present, Esquimalt nation language documentation & dictionary development
  • 2012-15 taught various writing and rhetoric courses at Royal Roads University and developed EAP learning module
  • 2016 instructor for SENĆOŦEN IST program, University of Victoria
  • 2016 Hul’q’umi’num’  Researcher (documentation and language learning materials development) Vancouver Island University
  • 2016 Co-Founder, Hwu’alum’qun Heritage Language Society
  • 2018 Language Revitalization Specialist for Gwich’in Tribal Council


  • MA Linguistics, University of Victoria
  • Thesis: M’i tst t’akw’; The Tellings of Dr. Sam; Text and Coast Salish oratory
  • BA double majors in Applied Linguistics and Writing