Tag Archives: language revitalization

Indigenous Language Revitalization Weblog Post 4 – Kenny Jamieson

Indigenous Language Revitalization – Encouragement, Guidance and Lessons Learned


This resource is an extensive collection of academic articles focused on Indigenous Languages and revitalization efforts.  The articles cover a wide range of topics, looking at everything from linguistics, to specific community efforts, and examples of technology being used effectively.  One further positive with this collection of articles is that they focus on a number of different languages and communities and are not tied in to one specific geographic region.  The various articles highlight some of the excellent work being done to revitalize many Indigenous languages and shows various possible steps that communities can take to ensure that their ancestral languages do not go extinct.

The Silent Genocide: Aboriginal Language Loss FAQ


This article goes into great lengths to highlight exactly what language extinction means for a culture and the wider communities.  The writer highlights the causes of language loss as well as showing how prevalent of an issue it actually is within Canada and British Columbia.  It shows how the problem can be traced to a number of different causes, including residential schools, government policies and the marginalization of Indigenous communities by mainstream society.  In addition, the writer also makes strong arguments for possible solutions to the issue, including creating legal protection for Indigenous rights and cultures, and providing better funding to support Indigenous language revitalization efforts.

The fight to revitalize Canada’s indigenous languages


Though this article is a few years old, it highlights different methods being used to help revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada.  The main focus is on the Yawenda project, which had the goal of helping to bring back the Wendat language by offering language courses, teacher training, and instructional material for a small group of students wanting to learn their ancestral tongue.  Similar to other articles written about the topic in Canada, this one does highlight how language extinction is especially concerning in British Columbia where there is a small percentage of fluent speakers and most are over 65.  The article also argues that in order to help revitalize the various languages, the focus should be on funding community-based projects that connect different generations of people, and on improving access to early-childhood immersion programs.  The use of technology is also discussed as a possible positive option as it can help to bridge the geographic distances that separate many communities.

First Peoples’ Cultural Council


This resource is a hub for a variety of other resources related to Indigenous People’s culture, some of which have been referenced in previous weblogs.  The First Peoples’ Cultural Council aims to support Indigenous communities in British Columbia that are attempting to preserve and revitalize their languages.  The organization works to fund different programs, such as the Language Nest, FirstVoices and the BC Language Initiative.  In addition, the organization is an advocate for immersion-education programs.  Beyond language, FPCC also has divisions for Arts and Culture and aim to provide programs and funding related to both those areas.

Say It First


Say It First is an organization in Canada that is aiming to revitalize Indigenous Languages through connecting with communities and utilizing technology.  The organization focuses on developing resources that will be used by children and families that want to try and reclaim their ancestral languages.  The resources that they develop are designed to be used in school settings to help children work towards becoming fluent in their language.  As the main target for the resources is younger children, the organization has created a variety of children’s books and YouTube shows that help to teach children their desired language.  One of the excellent aspects of the books is that they combine the Indigenous Language, a phonetic break-down and the English translation of the words to help children learn.  Here is an example of one of their children’s books.

Module 2 Weblog Posts 1 – 5 – Kenny Jamieson

For my second entry into the Weblog, working with some of the recommendations made by Professor Marker, I have attempted to focus my searching on the understanding the connection between language, culture and landscape.  Also, in keeping in line with the focus on educating with technology, I have worked to find additional examples of ways that Indigenous languages are attempting to be preserved and passed on through using technology.

Last Fluent Stolo Speaker:


This first link is from the Vancouver Sun and the article and accompanying video highlight the efforts being taken to help preserve the Halq’emeylem language.  This language is on the verge of no longer having any fluent speakers of it and the article highlights the importance of finding ways to help ensure future generations can become fluent in the language.  Some interesting quick takeaways from the article and video are that one of the linguist’s working on preserving the language describes how context and pronunciation are just as important as dictionary definitions.  She also speaks in the video about how knowing other languages can have a positive impact on the way you perceive the world.

Language and Identity, Language and the Land – Patricia Shaw

UBC E-Link – http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/viewFile/1595/1636

This journal article from Patricia Shaw focuses on how language is a crucial part of identity and culture for Indigenous cultures.  She compares the importance and impact of language on Indigenous identities to that of the English language on people who are native English speakers.  This comparison is used to show the devastating effects of language extinction on Indigenous communities and how by losing their language it directly impacts their culture.  Her article goes on to discuss how individual Indigenous languages have a direct tie to the landscape, and how understanding ones identity is linked to their ancestral language and land.  As many Indigenous languages, lands and cultures go unrecognized, either through ignorance or other means, it becomes more challenging for communities to continue to value their heritage and ensure it is passed on to future generations.  As Shaw’s article is centered around communities in British Columbia, her message and claims are quite powerful.

“Speaking with names” – Keith Basso


Following one of the recommendations made by Professor Maker regarding my research statement, I looked into the work of Keith Basso.  This essay is part of a larger collection titled “Wisdom Sits in Places” and this particular essay focuses on the connection between landscape, places and language among the Western Apache.  Within the article, there is a particularly interesting section that details a short conversation between two members of the community.  Through their conversation, it becomes clear that places have a unique significance in their culture and that places help connect people to their ancestors and that their language is also directly connected to places.  Within the stories that the Western Apache tell, locations and places in which the stories take place are paramount.  There is a line that states “Placeless events are an impossibility; everything that happens must happen somewhere”.  I think this line in particular signifies the importance of place and land within Indigenous languages and cultures.

Indigenous Language Revitalization TEDx Talk – April Charlo


This TEDx video focuses on how languages are used as a way to help people create meaning and understanding of their world.  The speaker goes on to discuss the concept of ownership, and how for some Indigenous communities, this is not an idea that exists naturally in their language.  The reference she makes is focused specifically on the natural environment and how it is impossible to own things that occur naturally in the world.  For many Indigenous communities, certain concepts were forced upon them and their languages and cultures were forced to adapt to new ideas in order to survive – such as the concept of owning land.  The video also highlights the connection between Indigenous cultures, language, and the land by discussing the idea of owning water.  For the communities being talked about, water was not something that could be owned but that one had to ask to use.  The speaker’s community understood how vital water was to life and did not believe in owning it.  The video highlights how languages can have important meanings that go with the words being used and show important connections that different groups can have to certain aspects of the environment.

How Technology is Saving Native Tribe Languages TEDx Talk – Darrick Baxter


This video focuses on how utilizing technology as a way to teach a language, in this case Ojibway, can be beneficial for learners who are interested in technology.  The speaker in the video created an app to engage his daughters with learning the Ojibway language after he found that other methods, such as books or audio CDs, were not as successful.  The speaker also discusses how the source code for the app was released for other Indigenous groups to use to create their own language apps and how various groups have created apps as a way to preserve and teach their language.  Apps continue to show up as ways for languages to be shared and learned.  An interesting feature of the Ojibway app discussed in the video (available here – http://www.ogokilearning.com/ojibway/) is that it is designed to work offline so that those living in places without reliable internet connections can still use it.


Indigenous Peoples, Technology, and our Post-Secondary Institutions (Mod 1 Post 4 & 5)

With our recent class discussions on the cultural neutrality of technology and the difference of educational goals in our Indigenous communities, I realize there is strong evidence for and against Indigenous use of technology and the extent of its benefit. However, for the non-Indigenous community, I believe that technology been an invaluable tool to help increase awareness and understanding as well as helping to promote advocacy for Indigenous communities.

Many have a willingness to learn but not always the tools or resources at their disposal.  Technology helps reduce boundaries by increasing our learning networks.  One of these learning networks is the MOOC/EdX course run by Jan Hare through UBC on Reconciliation through Education.  This free online course starts Oct 16, 2017 and covers the following program outcomes:

  • Explore personal and professional histories and assumptions in relationship to Indigenous peoples histories and worldviews
  • Deepen understanding and knowledge of colonial histories and current realities of Indigenous people
  • Engage with Indigenous worldviews and perspectives that contextualize and support your understanding of the theories and practices of Indigenous education
  • Develop strategies that contribute to the enhancement of Indigenous-settler relations in schools, organizations, and communities
  • Explore Indigenous worldviews and learning approaches for their application to the classroom or community learning setting
  • Engage in personal and professional discussions in an online environment with others committed to understanding and advancing reconciliation

Additionally, another post-secondary resource from UVic sees the revitalization of Aboriginal languages. Technology and western education has contributed to the diminishment of Aboriginal languages,  but now it is also being used to revitalize the languages not only with the descendants of native tongue speakers but with the non-Indigenous community as well.   While this course, unfortunately, is not free, it does offer courses that are face-to-face with Indigenous community members as well as career opportunities to work in and with various Indigenous communities upon completion of the course.  The program outcomes are as follows:

  • Learn foundational knowledge and skills in linguistics that are needed to undertake language preservation and revitalization work.
  • Build knowledge and skills in language preservation and revitalization.
  • Develop your ability to analyze language preservation issues relevant across Indigenous cultures and specific to your own communities.
  • Enhance your capacity to develop responsive strategies and programs designed to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages.
  • Earn a comprehensive and respected certificate.
  • Create a foundation for subsequent academic studies in related areas, such as education, cultural resource management and linguistics.


Module 1 – 2: Media and Indigenous Languages

After the readings this week, I was curious to investigate ways that technology could help retain culture (or at least parts of it). I had read about the loss of many Indigenous languages as the younger generations were no longer using them. Fortunately there are now groups that are emerging to help revitalize them.

I came across the CBC’s `Unreserved’ with Rosanna Deerchild episode titled,  “Learn 4 words in 4 Indigenous languages in 4 videos” where four individuals are sharing their Indigenous languages with others.



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]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q50ZJWc1uyE

  • 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 – Paige McClelland

I am really interested in researching the success as well as the barriers to mobile learning for Indigenous youth in Canada. Mobile technologies can offer many advantages that traditional means struggle to provide for students, such as bridging formal and informal learning opportunities. However, mobile education is very new territory, and as an educator, I would like to learn more about how to support this new avenue of educational technology, so that Indigenous learners, already the most disadvantaged students in Canada, are supported through appropriate educational programming.

The more that I researched this topic, the more interested I became in language preservation through mobile technology, and how this can potentially give a voice to Aboriginal youth. It also raises several concerns about knowledge preservation and access (e.g., those who do not have mobile devices or have limited connection).

Cowan, D., McGarry, F.M., Moran, H., McCarthy, D. D., & King, C. (n.d.). Information technology to support Indigenous Peoples [PDF]. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-index-wellbeing/sites/ca.canadian-index-wellbeing/files/uploads/files/information_technology_to_support_indigenous_peoples.pdf

  • In this article, the authors conducted a study on the effects that Dreamcatcher software had on knowledge sharing and curation within some Indigenous populations in Canada. Dreamcatcher is an interactive mapping service that has been co-designed with Aboriginal communities from Ontario, Canada. Attached to the maps are interactive stories and knowledge about specific communities in Canada. The authors of the study outline several advantages of using this software, but also provide insight into the considerations of using technology that is so closely tied to Indigenous cultural identity and language. There is also a really interesting section on the concerns people have regarding Indigenous knowledge that was meant to be private accidentally becoming public knowledge because of security issues.

The Endangered Languages Project. (2017). Browse resources by category [Web page]. Retrieved from http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/

  • In 2012, Google launched a curated website called The Endangered Languages Project, which catalogues languages from around the world, including some Indigenous languages in Canada. There are many interesting resources (related to the intersection of language and technology) as well as research that supports the importance of language revitalization on a global scale. This seems like a very useful website for observing the intricacies of local and global knowledge. Although the website is a little tough to navigate because of the limited browsing and search options, I think it is useful for those interested in learning about how to support endangered languages through mobile technology. The blog on this website is also particularly helpful and is easier to navigate for focused material than the actual website.

Franks, S., & Gessner, S. (2013). A guide to language policy and planning for B.C. First Nations Communities [PDF]. Retrieved from First Peoples’ Cultural Council website: http://www.fpcc.ca/files/PDF/Language_Policy_Guide/FPCC_Policy_Guide_2013.pdf

  • This 142-page guide outlines reasons why language revitalization is essential to preserving Indigenous knowledge, but also offers important information about why some current efforts to preserve languages and knowledge through technology have had adverse effects on Indigenous populations in Canada. The guide offers educational policy suggestions that could be helpful for educators who are interested in supporting learning opportunities that help Indigenous students transmit their language and culture. Finally, the guide offers important insight into community-based education, and why it’s important that educators and policy makers look at the needs of the community or specific body of learners first before implementing policy or learning activities (p. 72). This seems especially important as we introduce mobile learning into the classroom.

Perrier, C. (2016, May 20). Keyboard app brings Indigenous languages to mobile [Newspaper article]. Retrieved from CBC News website: http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/indigenous-language-app-1.3586511

  • A CBC article reports that some Indigenous language speakers will now be able to talk, speak, and text using their traditional language through the FirstVoices app. For many years, online platforms have catered to the English language and not included other languages and voices, so this app, and others like it, could be a step in the right direction in terms of acknowledging diverse Canadian voices. As I was reading through this article, I was excited by the prospect of Aboriginal youth connecting to their Elders through the power of language. Plus, this app would certainly be interesting to utilize in the classroom. However, I question who designed this app, and for what purposes. What are the assumptions and biases that have gone into the production of this app?

Pulla, S. (2015, October 30). Mobile learning and Indigenous education in Canada: A synthesis of new ways of learning [Report]. Retrieved from Royal Roads University website: http://www.siomonnpulla.com/downloads/pulla-knowledge-synthesis-report.pdf

  • This executive summary is written in a very approachable way and provides a detailed overview of the influence that mobile education has had on Aboriginal youth. In this summary, the author provides many examples and case studies of mobile education, but also warns against using this technology as a Band-Aid solution to fix the injustices that Indigenous learners have faced in traditional Western schools. What I found particularly interesting was the section on how mobile learning can potentially assist in Indigenous language revitalization (p. 19). While the author makes several interesting points, including how social media can effect positive change, I question how Indigenous people feel about the preservation of knowledge, including language, on mobile apps that pose serious privacy and security risks, not to mention who has access to this knowledge, and for what purposes.

Native Languages of the Americas



This site is a catalog of various Aboriginal languages. The site provides linguistic and cultural links for those interested in researching the subjects. Their mission is “dedicat[ion] to the survival of Native American languages, particularly through the use of Internet technology.”

This site is very basic in design but contains an enormous amount of content. Those researching protection of Aboriginal culture through technology and specifically protection of languages will benefit from its use.

Module 2 – Post 4
Ryan Silverthorne

Native American Dictionaries

Online Dictionaries

This link on the Multilingual Books website lists a number of online resources for the following languages:

The online dictionaries vary in formats. Some are in ebook format or PDF files while others are web sites.


Module 3 / Post 5: Teaching Indigenous Languages Books

Teaching Indigenous Languages Books is a webpage that features many articles on Indigenous language instruction. There are some great articles featured here that tie into my research quite nicely. Specifically, I like the articles on The Pedagogical Potential of Multimedia Dictionaries and Indigenous Language Revitalization and Technology. There are many more great articles on this site and this is definitely a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about Indigenous language revitalization.