Tag Archives: language and culture

Weblog 3 – Kenny Jamieson

Mi’gmaq Language Resources


This first resource is a collection of language resources for the Mi’gmaq language.  What is interesting about this web resource is it is one that utilizes a variety of different tools for teaching the language.  This is one of the more comprehensive resources that I have discovered so far.  The Learning Mi’gmaq online portion of the resource is extremely detailed and set up in such a way that it can be used both by individuals and as a classroom support tool.  The learning portion of the site also provides descriptions of how to say words and situations that they would be used in.  Each section has an audio portion so that people can pick up on the intricacies of the words and phrases being learned.  In addition to this main resource, the web page also has a quizlet section, a wiki page, a blog, a dictionary and links to both the Facebook and Twitter pages for the group.

Tusaalanga – Learn the Inuit Language


This is a second teaching a language based resource that can be used as a comparison to the first.  This resource is again quite comprehensive as a tool and collection of words and phrases from the Inuit language.  This website is also set up to allow individuals to progress through at their own pace and to benefit from hearing how words and phrases are said.  The lesson structure for this site is not quite as user friendly as the first tool, but it is set up in a sensible order.  Much like the first resource, the feel of this tool is that it was designed after traditional second or additional language courses.  It chooses to focus on words and phrases that people may think are important to know when attempting to learn a language.  These first two resources also create an opportunity to ensure that their particular language is preserved and that learning it is made accessible to people who may live outside of the respective community.

First Peoples Principles of Learning


The third resource that I wanted to include this week can be used for many different purposes.  I chose to explore it from the standpoint of evaluating the first two resources and seeing how well they fit in with the First People’s principles of learning philosophy.  As many web based language tools are likely being used by individuals and not in a face-to-face or group setting, it is important to evaluate if those tools are causing users to miss out on the important cultural aspect of language.  Within this blog, the piece that I found related the most to my topic is the section that focuses on connectedness and sense of place.  This section talks about how learning is a social process that benefits from the support of family and community.  It can be helpful to critically evaluate the various online language learning tools that are available.  In addition, educators may find this resource to be quite useful as a tool for better understanding the First People’s principles of learning.

Globe and Mail – Indigenous Language vital to telling Canada’s story


The last two artifacts that I have included in this post focus on the impact of language loss on communities and cultures.  This first, is written by former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, and provides an interesting perspective on the importance of preserving Indigenous languages.  The main argument in the article is that Canada has shown to be a country that accepts a variety of languages and though we are officially a bilingual country, it is understood that many people speak a different language at home.  The article goes on to highlight the drastic decline in fluent speakers of Indigenous languages, in particular in British Columbia where for many Indigenous languages, only about one in twenty Indigenous people are fluent in their native language.  Clarkson makes a strong argument that Indigenous languages are unique from other languages because of their importance to culture, heritage and individual identity.  She states that “losing one’s language is like losing all freedom of expression.”  As this article is written by someone previously in a government position, it allows some insight into how people outside of Indigenous communities can view language loss.

The Youth Journal – Language Loss


I found this article to be quite interesting as it provides a youth’s perspective on language loss and its impact on culture and communities.  The writer of this post is not Indigenous, but she provides some interesting insight into the issues that various communities can face.  From her writing, the passion she has for this topic is quite clear and it definitely highlights the impact that language loss can have on people, communities and cultures.  The article focuses mostly on Canada and highlights the challenge faced by Indigenous communities as many of the fluent speakers of their respective languages are adults and elders.  In addition, the article focuses on the impact that language assimilation can have on language loss.  This is quite relevant to our current and past education systems.

Reconnecting to Language and Culture, and the Path to Reconciliation

1. The link below is for the Reconciliation Canada website. The “About Us” section tells its audience that the idea around Reconciliation Canada was “born from the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Gwawaenuk Elder.” Reconciliation Canada provides information and resources to help engage individuals, groups, and communities in discussions and experiences related to reconciliation with the purpose of “revitaliz(ing) the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.” This website offers “Programs & Initiatives,” suggestions for how to “Get Involved,” “News & Events,” “Resources,” how to “Contact” them, and how to “Donate.” I found the resources section especially helpful from the perspective of an educator because it provides resources to access the topic of reconciliation from a variety of sources and instructional strategies, including videos, impact stories, useful links, shareable documents, and toolkits.

Specifically, one video I felt was very powerful was a TEDxEastVan talk by Chief Dr. Robert Joseph which shared a message of hope for reconciliation and that “we are all one.” Chief Dr. Joseph’s message was clear, that reconciliation is “for all of us,” and he questioned and then discussed what reconciliation would look like in the future. The talk can be found at: http://reconciliationcanada.ca/chief-joseph-speaks-at-tedx-eastvan/

The Reconciliation Canada main website information is:
Reconciliation Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved 18 October, 2016, from: http://reconciliationcanada.ca/about/about-us/

2. The next link is to an article in a chapter of a virtual textbook, AFMC Primer on Population Health. The section discusses the profound impact of colonization, specifically the impact of residential schools, loss of language and culture, and western values and laws forced on Indigenous populations in Canada, and the lasting health effects that are the consequence. In addition to this, the significant differences between Indigenous healing practices and western medicine, as well as the potential for integration of these two is touched on.

Indigenous people’s health in Canada. (n.d.). AFMC Primer on Population Health, The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada Public Health Educators’ Network. Retrieved 20 October, 2016, from: http://phprimer.afmc.ca/Part1-TheoryThinkingAboutHealth/Chapter3CulturalCompetenceAndCommunication/Indigenouspeople146shealthinCanada
(License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA)

3. The following link is for the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH) which was established in 2005 by the Government of Canada and is one of six National Collaborating Centres for Public Health in Canada. The NCCAH is hosted by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) “as part of its dedication to First Nations and Aboriginal programming” and is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

When looking at the site, I focused on the “Setting the Context” section. One link that provided a good overview for anyone interested is “An Overview of Aboriginal Health in Canada” which can be found at: http://www.nccah-ccnsa.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/101/abororiginal_health_web.pdf

This overview is essentially a factsheet which provides a good overview of and statistical representation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. The overview touches on a number of significant issues affecting First Nations populations, and the information referenced in the overview is quite up-to-date with references as recent as 2013.

NCCAH home page:
National Collaboration Centre for Aboriginal Health. (n.d.). Retrieved 28 October, 2016, from: http://www.nccah-ccnsa.ca/en/

4. I found the next link interesting as it appeared to attempt to address the issue of developing early education opportunities for First Nations children, which seemed to connect well with the “Stepping Forward” video that we watched in Module 3 – Week 8. The website states, “the Government of Canada established Aboriginal Head Start to help enhance child development and school readiness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children…” However, I believe this link could potentially act as an interesting debate piece. While the website asserts that the goal of the program “is to support early child development strategies that are designed and controlled by communities,” I question whether the governing body (in this case, the Government of Canada) will allow that development to be based around First Nations culture and language, or if western education strategies will actually be targeted through development/learning outcomes prescribed by the government. Interestingly, the programming outline lists “education” and “culture and language” as two separate components.

First Nations & Inuit Health: Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve. (2011). Health Canada. Retrieved 28 October, 2016, from: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fniah-spnia/famil/develop/ahsor-papa_intro-eng.php

5. My final link is to a news article that connects directly to the issues shared on the “Stepping Forward” video watched in Module 3 – Week 8. While the article deals with a current issue and has only been published within the last few days, the issue itself brings the reader back to the days of residential schools. The article reveals that the government of Nunavut is investigating a report of at least one teacher threatening punishment and actually disciplining a student for speaking their language, Inuktitut, in school. The article discusses the fact that there are fewer than 200 Inuit teachers and over 400 non-Inuit teachers currently teaching in Nunavut, which contributes to the lack of language and cultural understanding in the territory.

Sahar Zerehi, S. (2016, Oct. 29). No Inuktitut in school rule evokes painful memories of residential schools. CBC News. Retrieved 30 October, 2016, from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/no-inuktitut-school-rule-evokes-residential-school-memories-1.3824596

Additional Reference used in above notes:
NunavutEducation. (2012). Alluriarniq – stepping forward: Youth perspectives on high school education in Nunavut . Retrieved 26 October, 2016, from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh36hsFE8n4

Keeping Aboriginal Languages Alive: Passing on Squamish to the Next Generation

Module 1 – Post 3


This article outlines the Squamish language and how elders teach and share stories in their language to children from the Capilano Little Ones School on the Capilano Indian Reserve on the North Shore. The program is intended to keep their language alive.