Author Archives: Doug Connery

Language Preservation and Revitalization Through Technology

The goal of my research will be similar to Nicola’s: examining ways that indigenous groups are using technology to help preserve and revitalize languages. I had the opportunity to work for the Ktunaxa Nation Tribal Council for a year writing proposals to generate funding to support their wide variety of projects. A couple of the proposals were to support the preservation and revitalization of their almost extinct isolate language. Both proposals were funded: one for doing an inventory of fluent speakers and the other to initiate the development of a high speed broadband system to connect their five rural communities to support language preservation.  I ended up writing the final report for the fluent speaker project as the Ktunaxa researcher hired to do the work left the community after the interviews were completed and the data was compiled. At that time in 2002 there were only about 36 fluent speakers alive, however, today I understand the total has dwindled to about 20.

At the end of 2002 I moved back to Calgary and became involved in mainstream technical post-secondary education; however the challenge of the dwindling Ktunaxa fluent speaker population was always in the back of my mind. Now with my enrolment in this course, I started to think about how the Ktunaxa Nation language preservation and broadband project had evolved. I reconnected with my former boss and realized that finding out more about how indigenous people use technology to preserve and revitalize their languages is something that I would like to know more about.

Government of Saskatchewan and First Nations Launch Task Force

I still have not defined my research interest so I am posting this item of interest that I came across the other day as it relates to indigenous education. The federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Government of Saskatchewan have formed a task force on education and employment. The task force will try to identify ways to eliminate gaps in education and employment outcomes for Saskatchewan First Nation and Metis people over a one year period starting this fall.

Metis National Council

The Metis National Council website is a great starting point for anything Metis in Canada. Metis are sometimes referred to as the forgotten North American aboriginal group as they are caught between their two cultures: North American First Nation and European. The site has a wealth of information and links about Metis Governments, Metis Rights and Metis Constitution as well as links to provincial Metis Nation websites: Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC.

There are links to some great videos about Metis including: Metis Summer (A Journey through Time) Metis Nation Veterans (No Longer Forgotten) and videos about Metis Heroes such as Harry Daniels.

This is a good place to learn about Metis and a starting point for doing research on Metis people and culture.

Map of North American Indigenous Languages

Wikimedia Commons provides a map of North American Indigenous language families including Canada’s largely distributed Eskimo-Aleut, Na-Dene and Algic to language families across small areas such as the Haida in British Columbia and the Beothuk of Newfoundland. It also includes isolate languages such as the Ktunaxa in British Columbia, Idaho and Montana. The map is available in German, Spanish and French.

This site provides many hyperlinks to Wikipedia for further information about the map content, languages and links to maps and information about languages in Mexico, Latin America and South America.  The site also provides a link to the Aboriginal Mapping Network which is a great resource for mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

This is a great site to visit before doing research on broad or specific topics related to indigeneity.

Center for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research

Center for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research

This website is housed and maintained by Athabasca University. The Center for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research has the following goals:

  • Meet academic needs of Indigenous students, scholars, nations, communities, institutions and organizations
  • Improve the development and delivery of Indigenous Education at Athabasca University
  • Strengthen the research undertaken for, by and about First Nation Metis and Inuit People at Athabasca University
  • Acknowledge and develop the role of traditional knowledge in academic settings
  • Support, protect and preserve Indigenous Knowledge, Education and oral traditions

Athabasca University is Canada’s open University offering over 700 online courses and 90 degrees, diplomas and certificate programs with flexible start times.

The Center for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research provides a support and resource network for indigenous students taking Athabasca University courses and programs in their homes, communities or Nations.

First Nations Technology Council

The First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) maintains a website that supports the integration of technologies intended to improve the quality of life for all British Columbia First Nations. The mandate of the FNTC is to develop a First Nations Technology Plan to ensure the 203 BC First Nations are connected with high speed broadband, have access to affordable, qualified technical support and, have the skills needed to access technologies that can improve their lives.

The website has a menu with links to many resources including a Community Applications section where First Nation projects are highlighted and a link through the First Nations BC Portal to the First Nations in British Columbia website.