A Haida Gwaii duo is promoting the beauty of an endangered Indigenous language in a unique way -- by singing rap songs. Jiixa (Gladys Vandal), an elder of the Haida Eagle Clan, teamed up with Julia Weder to form Siijuu Jaadas, which means "cool ladies" in Haida. "I always think I'm a girl -- I'm 84 years old and rapping," she says. Jiixa is one of nine core members of the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program who received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Vancouver Island University in June 2019 for their work in preserving the language, which has only two dozen fluent speakers left. Weder, 25, who is of Greek and Croatian ancestry, grew up in Haida Gwaii and learned Haida by volunteering with the immersion program. She and Jiixa cook meals together and take classes as an employee of the Skidegate Health Centre. Weder took the name Skaak'aadang Jaad after being adopted into the clan and considers Jiixa her surrogate grandmother.

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