Nuuchahnulth Phonetic Alphabet

Date: 1996

Client: Haahuupayuk Society

Medium: Printed books
Process: 2-colour

The Haahuupayuk Society was formed to start the Haahuupayuk School, which is an Aboriginal school located on the Tseshaht reserve. The society has continued with initiatives to support the endeavours of traditional language, arts and culture. They were successful in publishing four books: the Nuu-chah-nulth Counting Book (Huksaa), the Nuu-chah-nulth Alphabet Book,  Hummingbird Challenges Eagle and The Flood. The artist was hired as a graphic designer and publishing consultant in the publication of these books. The counting and alphabet books were published first, produced in two colours. They’re meant not just to teach the language but to give life to the learning. Following the successes of the first two, the next two books were published: Hummingbird Challenges Eagle, and The Flood. They use a similar format but explore the storytelling aspect in more depth. In the process of creating these books, the Haahuupayuk Society discovered some fundamental differences between English and Nuu-chah-nulth storytelling styles, which became apparent through consultation with the elders.

Subsequently a publishing program was run by the society. Four Aboriginal senior students were taught how to illustrate, format and tell a story. The outcome was two books that weren’t published, but were produced in-house.