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Tlicho champion recognized
Behchoko's Rose Mantla awarded 2012 Aboriginal Sports Circle Cultural Award

Nicole Garbutt
Northern News Services
Published Monday, November 12, 2012

Rose Mantla is a Behchoko educator who has dedicated her adult life to preserving the Tlicho language and culture.

NNSL photo/graphic

Rose Mantla, right, accepts the cultural award earlier this month at the Aboriginal Sports Circle ceremony. - James McCarthy/NNSL photo

Earlier this month she was recognized for her contributions with the cultural award by the Aboriginal Sports Circle.

"I was very honored and touched by the award, to have people have that great respect for me and the things I do in my region," said Mantla.

"The person that nominated me must have thought because of my cultural background and traditional knowledge, not only what I have done in the community for cultural activities and programs but what we deliver in the schools."

Mantla is a former teacher and now works with Tlicho Community Services to help deliver teacher orientation for facilitating workshops.

"Right now we are focusing on our Tlicho language lessons. When we bring students out, we help the teachers deliver their lessons."

Mantla is originally from Behchoko, although she said it is difficult to say that exactly. "I was mostly raised on the land.

"Like many other families and people my age now, we were raised away from the community on the land. Especially as a young girl, we had to be taught a lot of skills, from morning until night time," she laughed. "As you grow older, you gain more cultural skills along with language."

Greg Hopf, executive director of the Aboriginal Sports Circle, said that the process for choosing award recipients is quite lengthy.

"All of the awards are done through a nomination process. A selection committee of our staff and board members debates and does research on the nominees," he said.

"I am totally confident that we have the right person for the cultural award this year."

Mantla said she had not really had time to look at her award yet, which is a large beaded belt in a frame, because shortly after the ceremony she returned to Victoria, B.C., to further her own education.

"Sometimes I ask myself what I am doing here," she laughs. "But you're never too old to keep learning."

Mantla said what she always tries to impart on the youth is a sense of how tied together culture and language are. "When we talk about culture and language, you cannot go one without the other. Young people need to know and be aware that you cannot separate them."

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