Author Archives: Jocelynn Mortlock

Module 4 Weblog – Jocelynn Mortlock

As this module focuses on the development and design of culturally responsive curriculum and educational pursuits, the focus of this weblog is in case studies and practical tools to help in the implementation of such pursuits.


Benton, N. (1989). Education, language decline and language revitalization: The case of Maori in New Zealand. Journal of Language and Education. 3(2).

  • This article addresses the needs of educational reform in New Zealand as a way of preserving and revitalizing Maori language. It introduces the concept of Kohanga reo, or “Language Nests”. These language nests are similar to immersion programs, where aboriginal students in their early years of schooling are paired with Elders to improve the intergenerational transference of language. Although the reception of language nests varies, depending on the extent of Maori vs English being spoken at home and the parent acceptance of bilingual education programs, generally language nests have been successful and encouraging in seeing the revitalization of the Maori language among younger generations.


McIvor, Onowa. (2006). Building the Nests: Early Childhood Indigenous Immersion Programs in B.C.

  • Onowa’s study conducted on two First Nations bands in BC are intended as a guide and Q&A booklet about the implementation and effectiveness of language nests here in Canada. The Adam’s Lake Band and Lil’wat Nation were the two communities approached for the study. Onowa’s guide presents key information about the language nests, including their importance (Why do we need them?), the context and significance of reaching out at early childhood, the specifics of the language nests program (What does it look like?). The study found that success within these communities was based on strong leadership within the community, amond parents and with teachers, as well as optimism and a never-give-up attitude. The study also found that Elders played a key role, and occasionally community (and Elder resistance) held up progress. Funding was also a challenge. The guide concludes with tips to a successful implementation of a language nests program.


First Nations Language Curriculum Building Guide. FNESC

  • Although I’ve already highlighted the great FNESC website as a resource, I have also come across this language building guide. Chapter 2.2 on Creating Proficiency in First Nations Languages is a beneficial resource for teachers not knowing where to start with teaching or learning the language. It describes key concepts and the specifics for developing proficiency within a language. Chapter 2.4 describes various teaching methods for general language development, most of which can be applied to Indigenous language learning. Chapter 3.3 Examples from Elsewhere elaborates on language-specific learning frameworks that have been implemented in other areas around the world, including Australia and Europe. Chapter 4.5 goes into depth of different curriculum designs, each with different accommodations that they offer. Finally, the appendices give teachers access to several resources for assessment and implementation of language frameworks, including scope and sequence documents, themed topics, and sample units. The document is lengthy, but packed with useful information.


Ogoki Learning Inc.

  • The website is modern and appealing as it introduces the Ojibway app for learning language. Promoted as a classroom learning resource, the Ogoki Learning app utilizes mobile devices and tablets to help “Tribes teach their language to young people”. The app boasts that they give out the source code to you, downloadable and “used by their Tribal members”, with the ability to update and edit as needed. The website provides plenty of information on how to download and use the app, as well as TED Talks video emphasizing the importance of learning the language of your culture. As the app does not require an internet connection, it is perfect for remote communities with limited access. The app provides assessment tools, games and stroybooks available for use with Smartboards. The Ojibway app is free to download on Android, Windows and iOS devices, as they are promoting the Ojibway language in as many communities as possible. For other communities to have their native tongue on the app, they may request a quote online.


Listen, Speak, See, Feel: Boosting Language Learning Through Ultrasound (September 2016). University of British Columbia.

  • This is an intriguing article on how innovation in science and passion for language preservation and revitalization can come together to create powerful action. The article introduces eNunciate, “a web-based biovisual tool that uses ultrasound layering” to have language learners experience comparisons of pronunciations using a multimodal approach. Learners are able to “literally get inside a native language speaker’s head”, as the sounds and tongue formation are displayed using computer technology. UBC researchers have managed to blend the complexities of linguistics with ultrasonic images to enable language learners to see, feel and listen to subtle, sometimes imperceptible, differences in new languages. Studies have been conducted on Indigenous language learners, including the “W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation of Vancouver Island”, and have seen huge improvements in students being able to “break down language barriers” and reconnect with the language.

Module 3 Weblog: Jocelynn Mortlock

In this module and in preparation for my project on digital language revitalization, my goal was to seek out case studies and resources, to help communities strength their language, identity and culture. Below is a collection of a few sites that provided some valuable information towards the attitudes of various Indigenous communities trying to renew their familiarity with their cultural identity through language.


Galley, V. (2012). Reconciliation and Revitalization of Indigenous Languages. Speaking my truth.

  • The Speaking My Truth website holds a collection of articles and essays by and for Indigenous people looking to revitalize a culture disrupted by Residential schools, government neglect and colonialism. The site includes personal narratives of community members and their encounters with cultural conflict within themselves and the community. This chapter in particular discusses the challenges Indigenous communities of Canada have faced so far in the pursuit towards revitalizing a language, therefore, a culture. The author points out a number of historical events and neglectful actions on the part of the Government of Canada in acknowledging and pursuing proper Indigenous languages laws. The author concludes by stating:

“A substantial long-term and sustained investment for language revitalization would be in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation as would official recognition in the form of federal statutory legislation.”

Much is still to be done on the part of the government in reconciling the loss of language, but with the support of the Federal Government and public education system, revitalization of indigenous languages is possible.


Parkhill, M. Indigenous Language Revitalization. Say IT First.

  • Mike Parkhill is an active promoter of revitalizing Indigenous languages. He is the founder of the children’s books Say IT First, which are tailored to children aged 2-5 for optimal language learning. He believes that in order to prevent the complete loss of language and culture for Indigenous communities, we need to “digitize the older peoples’ knowledge and incorporate it in a way that this information will get consumed by the younger generation”. His goal with the Say IT First children’s books are to reach out to all kindergarten and grade 1 classes with Aboriginal students, to ensure they have copies of the books, or access to the online versions of them. The site contains links to the youtube channel for the books, information about the project, and resources for High School culturally relevant curriculum, where Our Connections videos have been produced in English and in Ojibwe, to enable language learning to continue at the grade 11 & 12 level.


Baloy, N. (2011). “We Can’t Feel Our Language”: Making Places in the City for Aboriginal Language Revitalization. American Indian Quarterly. 35 (4), 515-548.

  • The author of this article argues that there is a hunger for traditional knowledge and thirst for aboriginal language from the Squamish nation youth within the confines of the city, yet educational efforts need to be pursued beyond the classroom to assist in “promoting connections between land, language, and identity. She presents three challenges aboriginal people face when trying to learn the language and culture of their ancestry: a separation of identity through limited opportunities to learn in the city rather than on the reserve, a lack of public language addressing the diverse language needs of urban aboriginal communities, and finally a need to “make places” for language for nonlocal members who feel the need to connect to their homeland while living in an urban setting. Baloy presents a number of possible solutions to combat the challenges of “making places for languages”, including ways in which the internet, cultural expression through song and dance, and language immersion camps can be utilized to promote change.


Wood, S. (2014 January 22). Despite limited resources, indigenous-language programs persevere in B.C. Georgia Straight.

  • This article from the Georgia Straight paints a hopeful perspective on Indigenous language revitalization efforts for communities of the Squamish Nation and beyond. Wood details the integration of “language nests modelled after those introduced in New Zealand” for language modernization and revitalization. Wood describes these language nests as immersive programs, similar to French Immersion, where preschool and early elementary-aged children receive instruction in the aboriginal language of the community. Wood also points out the importance of the website First Voices, that I have mentioned in an earlier weblog, which provides rich language content and resources for learning an indigenous language in Canada.


Squamish Nation Education Department (SNED)

  • The ‘About Us’ section of the Squamish Nation’s Education Department website provides an in-depth, modern, and relevant information regarding the Squamish nation, from the history to the culture to government protocols and agreements. The culture page emphasizes the importance of the Skwxwú7mesh Snichim (Squamish language) and its meaning as a Coast Salish people, who used to not include the word “nation” as everyone was considered a “people”. The site also provides plenty of links and resources for youth and community members wishing to keep updated with news within the Squamish Nation. Furthermore, the website includes an ‘Opportunities’ page where teachers may apply for jobs within the Education Department, from language teachers to program coordinators.


Language Revitalization – Module 2 by J Mortlock

Four Directions Teachings.

  • The goal of this website was to create an engaging and interactive venue for students to learn and experience Indigenous knowledge and philosophy. It contains a collective of teachings from the 5 First Nations of Canada; Ojibwe, Mi’kmaq, Mohawk, Cree and Blackfoot. Throughout the site, there are stories related to the four directions, told by Elders and traditional teachers. This site can be both an educational tool for students in the classroom as well as an informative reference on the views and teachings of 5 distinct Indigenous cultures within Canada. This site was part of a project for the intention of the “protection and promotion of Indigenous knowledge” and took a community based approach to ensure it was respectful and accountable for the community values being presented.


Cardwell, M. (2010). The fight to revitalize Canada’s indigenous languages. University Affairs.

 “Community members need to be interested and see value in their language in order to use it.”

  • This article shares the purpose of the Yawenda project, a nationally funded project to revitalize the Huron-Wendat language in Quebec. The study followed a group of students, aged 15-76, that would go through classes weekly, learning the language of the Huron ancestors which had not been spoken for a century. The project highlights the importance of pairing young minds with Elders, with the goal of “raising children in bilingual environments – or nests” that will help to overcome difficulties as they progress into adulthood. Although the project was not originally expected to succeed, experts at the University of Laval have said the devotion to relearning the cultural language is what drives the project forward. This willingness is expected to help push further funding for the Huron-Wendat communities in the pursuit of language knowledge.


First Peoples’ Cultural Council

  • The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is a Crown corporation run by First Nations to support language and cultural revitalization efforts in Canada. This website hosts a number of tools and resources, including language, art and cultural heritage. The Council funds several ongoing efforts of revitalization across the country. This site is a starting point when examining resources for First Nations, including news, reports, grant proposals, and teaching resources. They also run the First Voices project for language resurrection.


First Voices: Language Legacies Celebrating Indigenous Cultures

  • As a resource developed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, the First Voices language archive and teaching resources has a number of web-based tools to connect youth with technical knowledge and Elders with sacred teachings and cultural ways of knowing. The toolkit provides links to Youtube videos on how to use equipment for upload as well as a language tutor, for those wishing to learn beyond the basics. Most of the content is accessible offline, to connect those with limited access. Interactivity is at this website’s core, allowing access to knowledge from a variety of lenses. Maps, audio, dictionaries, and games are all part of what the site has to offer. For access to uploading resources, visit the FPCC page, under the Language tab.


TEDXHumberCollege – Dr. John Steckley: What if Aboriginal languages mattered? Youtube. (February 19, 2012). [Video File].

  • John Steckley is a specialist in Canada’s Aboriginal People, particularly in the Huron language and culture. His video shares three little known stories about the Toronto region to illustrate that Aboriginal teachings are not valued in Western culture. He compares the English language with the Huron, in differences such as gender neutrality and a lack of superlatives in the Huron language. He emphasizes the meaning of words comes from a “psychologizing of the world” – giving words meaning through the psychology and emotional control behind them. Dr. Steckley has also written a number of books related to Huron language and culture, which is referenced on the Youtube page.

Module 1 Weblog – J Mortlock

Although I have yet to decide on a specific area of research with my weblog, I thought I would try to gain some insight on the ways of knowing that can be shared using technology and the protocols surrounding the sharing of this information.

Dyson, L. E., & Underwood, J. (2006). Indigenous people on the web. Journal of theoretical and applied electronic commerce research1(1).

  • In this article, the authors examine the ways in which Indigenous people around the world have been engaging with the internet to reconnect and build their collective knowledge by creating a bank of websites. In their research, the authors found challenges for Indigenous people of the web, including access to technology, low digital literacy and connectivity difficulties. In order to conduct the study, protocol for evaluating the websites needed to be created. The authors concluded that despite the many valuable Indigenous-created sites available online, with limited access in the Indigenous communities, the question arises as to whom these websites are designed.

Kaminsky, J. (2012). First Nations ways of knowing: Developing experiential knowledge in nursing through an Elder in Residence Program. First Nations Pedagogy.

  • This site details of the integration of an Elder in Residence Program initiated in the nursing degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The program was designed as a way of bringing in experiential knowledge about the land, Elders, traditions, and ceremonies to make meaning of the learning. The site explains the connections between Indigenous teachings of experiencing, reflecting and acting to 21st century learning. It also provides a link to a First Nations Healing site, for which nursing members and the community can promote self-governance through discovery and understanding of traditional teachings.

OLPC Canada. (2010).

  • The OLPC (One laptop per child) program is a non-profit organization that connects donors with Indigenous youth that lack the funding for access to technology. The website offers some statistics as to the severity of the lack of technology in the hands of Indigenous youth across Canada. It also provides a number of samples of student work created by success stories of those who have received access to ipads or laptops to share in the learning of Indigenous culture.

Battiste, M. (1998). Enabling the autumn seed: Toward a decolonized approach to Aboriginal knowledge, language, and education. Canadian Journal of Native Education22(1), 16.

  • In this article, Battiste highlights the struggles faced by Indigenous youth as education shifts and transforms with new insight towards the goals of Eurocentric education in conjunction with Aboriginal values. The emphasis is on finding ways take on active participation to contribute to the development of curriculum for the transformation of knowledge. Battiste emphasizes the need for decolonization to rebuild the principles for which education should be built on. Linguistic competency and discrimination are highlighted as challenges faces by First Nations on their journey to transform education.

Carpenter, P. Utilizing Technologies to Promote Education and Well-Being: A Kuhkenah Network. Learning, Technology and Traditions: Aboriginal Policy Research. 6(8). (119-139).

  • This article introduces the Kuhkenah Network (K-Net), a First Nations network established out of Ontario to support the implementation and use of technology in remote and rural communities. The article presents four case studies intended to share the important work being carried out under the K-Net, and the history of its development. The article emphasizes the importance K-Net has in reinvigorating culture between groups too distant to connect regularly as well as positive changes that have occurred since the network’s founding.