CBC has a fantastic archives site called CBC Digital Archives. This site has something for everyone and contains both television and radio archives going back many years. It is interesting to note that two of the three most popular clips are about aboriginal issues: the Oka stand-off in 1990 (with a rather young looking Peter Mansbridge) and piece on survivors of the Residential school system from 1991. The third most popular video is Justin Trudeau’s eulogy for his father in 2000.
I did a bit of exploring in the archives under Society and Native Issues and focused on the history of the residential School system. It is interesting to see how Canadian Societal views about the Native residential school system changed over time as expressed through the CBC media. The earliest clip called “A New Future” is from 1955 and presents a wonderful and cheery perspective of residential schools as a feature to salute “Education Week”. It is definitely biased as the well dressed, cheery, anglicized Indians never stopped smiling – a must to see to understand how residential schools were justified and understood at the time.
Fast forward to 1969 for the video Government takes over schools to see when the federal government took over the residential schools from the churches. This clip also shows a huge change in attitude and understanding of the residential school. This clip and the 1970 the clip “Losing Native Languages” shows recognition that isolating aboriginals from their culture was not such a good idea after all. The cover picture for this radio broadcast is from the 1955 “A New Future” video from 1955. The videos then progress towards the present as the abuses of the aboriginal students were recognized: Native Leader charges church with abuse (1990) to the official apology’s from the Canadian Government including: We are deeply Sorry (1998) and A long-awaited Apology (2008). There is also an interesting clip from 1974 showing a day in the life of the Indian Affairs Minister: Jean Chretien (former Prime Minister of Canada)
This is a great site to find out about Canadian Aboriginal issues both past and present.
While there have no doubt been many instances of pejorative depictions of Aboriginal peoples on television and in film, there are increasingly common examples of inclusive and supportive depictions as well. Take TigaTalk, for example. Launched in 2008 on APTN, TigaTalk is a children’s television show (preschool level) that uses puppets, cartoon, and live-action stories to explore First Nations culture. This show is also attempting to address preschooler’s mastery of linguistic skills (in Aboriginal languages as well as English. TigaTalk also has an iOS App developed with licensed speech and language pathologists, providing a fun way for children to develop speech sounds through playful voice-controlled games that can improve speech clarity, articulation, and instill confidence.
So I WAS really excited to share this, but as I went back through the previous weblog entries, I can see that others have already found this. Not sure how I missed it. So maybe it’s worth posting AGAIN. As outlined on the website, FirstVoices is a group of web-based tools and services designed to support Aboriginal people engaged in language archiving, language teaching & culture revitalization. This site is clearly very relevant to the conversations we’ve been having in class. Please take a moment to visit the website: http://www.firstvoices.com/en/home
Basically, it’s all about learning First Nations languages online. It includes an interactive map which allows you to select a language by region, and then you can actually listen to the pronunciation of many of the syllables of different First Nations Languages.
The unique feature I’d like to point out, which hasn’t been mentioned previously, is the existence of mobile app platforms. Check out this link: http://fnbc.info/first-voices-mobile-apps-iphoneipodipad After having visited some of the more poorly maintained First Nations Language websites, I think it’s fantastic to see a website and product so well developed and supported. No doubt the financial support from groups such as New Relationship Trust, TELUS, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Government of British Columbia go a long way in ensuring that this is a successful venture.
My first weblog posting of Module 1 was a TedTalk and I will continue in a similar fashion for Module 2 in our discussions of indigeneity and stereotyping.
“Remote lands of indigenous peoples are not remote at all. They are homelands of somebody.” In his discussion on Endangered Cultures, Wade Davis covers a lot of ground – from language to landscapes, traditional knowledge holders and indigenous peoples who face unknown modernity. He talks Voodoo, not a black magic cult (that’s a stereotype,) but complex metaphysical worldview. He talks of rites of priesthood of the Kogi, which include a strict 18-year inculturation into the values of their society. He discusses the level of indigenous intuition and relation to landscapes in comparison with the emotional disconnect evident in a contemporary resource-based economy. He talks of Indigenous people that say plants “talk” to them and the impossibility of dissect their explanation of plant taxonomy from a scholarly standpoint.
Davis notes that even those who are aware of the endangered nature of many indigenous cultures still view these cultures as quaint and colorful, however reduced from the live-a-day world of western society. He argues that it is not technology or the change technology brings that threatens indigenous societies, it is an overpowering domination to mimic Westernized notions of how technology should be used, and how change should proceed, that is the root of the threat.
I realize First Voices has already been introduced but this section of the site is specific to my region. The nłeʔkepmxcin Community Portal deals with the language of the people of the Nicola Valley in British Columbia. This section (similar to other language an people group sections in First Voices) serves as a language, historical and cultural archive for this region. To help students learn basic terms and phrases there are games and vocabulary lists available. These vocabulary lists include audio archives to help with how to pronounce the word. This archive is driven by Aboriginal contributors in an effort of cultural preservation.
Dustin Rivers is a young language revitalization activist of the Squamish Nation. He does not profess to be a language expert or even fluent in the language he is helping to teach, but he saw a chance to promote the revival of his language through engaging his community (noting that “Social Media is just the beginning!”). Launched on November 17, 2010, Dustin’s website SquamishLanguage.com has served to promote language classes in the Squamish Valley, discuss the basic tenets and importance of language immersion around the home, promote two podcasts (one relating to language lessons and one relating to cultural icons, knowledge keepers, and leaders), study scripts for “word-of-the-day” posts, invite community members to play traditional games and language-fluency games, and more.
It is also notable that this initiative is not (yet?) officially sanctioned by the Squamish Nation, nor does it have any financial sponsorship. This website serves as an example of how one Aboriginal youth is successfully initiating a grass-roots revival of his heritage language, using social media as a distribution platform. The Na Tkwi Sníchim podcast is especially relevant for language enthusiasts looking for a model to base their own language initiatives around.
The celebration of this successful language initiative to date is heartening and worth keeping track of.
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.