The Fraser River Journey video got me wondering what kind of options are available for those who would like to immerse themselves in communities, activities and experiences that would allow them to learn more about Indigenous cultures and languages. To my surprise, I discovered that there are quite a few websites that provide these opportunities.
This article provides an overview of Indigenous experiences available in many provinces across Canada. From restaurants and hotels serving traditional food and displaying art from Indigenous artists, to museums and tours, there are many informational and educational options available.
The Quebec Aboriginal Tourism Association’s vision is to “create activities that are conducive to the social and economic development of the Aboriginal communities of Quebec” (QATC, 2011). Through different forms of tourism, they help preserve and promote the traditions that are specific to the eleven Aboriginal Nations of Quebec. The website also provides information about the different Nations, as well as news, videos and images.
The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada (ATAC) is a “non-profit organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Aboriginal tourism industry in Canada” (ATAC, 2017). The website provides information on First Nation, Metis and Inuit People as well as a breakdown of the various regions and provinces. There is also an extensive list of activities, experiences, villages, expeditions and hotels/lodges that are offered across the country.
One of the themes that has been discussed throughout the course is how and if technology can help preserve languages. I was shown a website and a program by my students that they use in their Cree Language class and I thought they might be helpful for those who are exploring this topic for their final project.
EastCree is a website dedicated to the language, spoken mostly in the James Bay area of Northern Quebec. The site has been running since 2000 and has information for two dialects: the Northern dialect and the Southern dialect. There is a stories section in which “you can hear the language and in the texts subsection you can also read it in syllabics. We are restoring old tapes of Cree stories as well as collecting new ones” (eastcree.org, 2017). The site also provides information about grammar, lesson and games to learn Cree syllabics and vocabulary, as well as terminology and dictionary pages.
Field Linguist’s Toolbox – East Cree Syllabics
The Field Linguist’s Toolbox is a program designed by SIL International. This nonprofit organization is trying to encourage sustainable language development. Through research, translation and training, they put together a data management and analysis tool for field linguists. Below is an example of the toolbox that is installed on the computers at the school I work in and was created from numerous contributions from people within the school board. It includes key words, the East Cree Syllabics, the East Cree Southern spellings and English definitions. This is an interesting application of how technology can help preserve language.