Module 4 Postings

FIRST VOICES (Brentwood Bay, BC)

First Voices is a suite of web-based tools and services designed to support Aboriginal peoples engaged in language archiving, language teaching and culture revitalization.
 The First Voices language tutor is a free software that can be downloaded and local language archived in it, games and other language learning activities can be developed with the software. It support instructor and student tracking. The First Voices Language Archive contains about 60 different language communities at this time, some publicly accessible, some not.


The First Nations Interactive Holistic Lifelong Learning Model:

I really liked this interactive flash model for holistic learning. It is a good example of how technology can support the interconnected webs of relationships in First nations communities and in education.


A Victory for the Tsilhqot’in

Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot’in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)
This is a fabulous film that shows the power that media can have to change the course of events when a community decides to take a stand. Blue Gold expresses the Tsilhqot’in peoples’ unanimous rejection of Taseko Mines Ltd.’s proposal to drain Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in order to stockpile mining waste.  They had help to make the film from R.A.V.E.N. and assistance with fundraising. This is an approach being taken more and more by small indigenous communities to reach the mainstream population – many of whom support the causes if they know about them.


Alanis Obomsawin

One of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers, she has worked at the NFB for over 40 years. when I was researching aboriginal film I found out that she was the director of the incredible film that I saw years ago:Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance . She has made so many films and is passionate about speaking out for aboriginal people. She also received an Honourary Degree from UBC recently where she gave a speech honouring the NFB for supporting her work.


National Panel on First Nations Education: News Release – Equitable Funding, Language, Culture and Technology Key to Improving High School Graduation Rates

It looks like there is money being made available to make some concrete improvements in First Nations education.  Calls for improvement in funding, integrating culture and language into curriculum and ensuring equitable access for all First Nations students has been going on for a long time. “Closing the gap between educational achievement for youth in mainstream society and First Nations’ youth is the single biggest shot in the arm we can give Canada’s economy where demand for skilled and knowledge-based workers is likely to remain greater than our ability to produce them,” said Panel Chair Scott Haldane.


Hui, Stephen, First Nations Students need Internet Technology, advocates say, Georgia Straight, September 3, 2009.

Even if remote communities have technology often it is difficult at home and school to make good use of them because of the poor bandwidth. Remote communities all over Canada have been promised better bandwidth in these communities but most are still waiting. Technology would open access to online support for high school specialist courses in maths and sciences, technology skills, programs that can support digital music and art in areas where only four or five students makes it not economical to have a teacher in the community.














November 28, 2011   No Comments

Cherokee Nation Partners With Apple

In the December 23, 2010 issue of the Seattle Times newspaper, columnist Murray Evans’ headline reported: Cherokee, Apple Partner to put language on iPhones.

Although 290 000 individuals belong to the Cherokee Nation, only about 8 000 Cherokee speakers remain. To combat this decline, tribal officials created a Cherokee-only language immersion school in Oklahoma in 2001 where children enrolled in kindergarten through grade 5 work on their laptops using a Macintosh operating system that recognizes the 85 Cherokee syllables that the blacksmith Sequoyah converted to written form in 1821.

In September 2010 after discussions and meetings with the Cherokee chief about developing more Cherokee language software, Apple announced they would release Cherokee applications for the iPod and iPhone. These apps allow individuals to continue communicating in Cherokee outside of the school environment and have started to appeal to people outside of the educational setting as well, illustrating the initial success of this innovative approach meant to strengthen cultural identity through indigenous language development.



October 8, 2011   No Comments

Endangered Cultures

Wade Davis’ TED talk on endangered cultures.

Wade Davis, one of National Geographic’s Explorers in Residence, is an anthropologist and ethnobotanist advocating for indigenous cultures around the world. Out of the 6 000 languages that once existed, less than half are still taught to children placing them on an endangered list that supersedes the extinction rate within the biosphere. Without language, cultural identity is difficult to embrace. He contends that preserving the Earth’s cultural diversity, which he labels as the ethnosphere, requires the Western world to acknowledging the importance of indigenous cultures and indigenous ways of knowing before more cultures and their languages become extinct.

October 7, 2011   No Comments

First Voices (second…)
Description: An interactive website created through partnerships with local communities and elders to share knowledge about the local community and to highlight language. There are some basic language recordings available, for a number of different Canadian Aboriginal languages, as well as some learning games. Within the language sections, there are auditory alphabets, words and phrases, organized thematically. The games include word search, matching, and hangman to name a few.
If you are interested in learning a little more about a certain community and getting started with a few phrases, this website would be useful.

September 21, 2011   No Comments

First Voices

First Voices


“FirstVoices is a group of web-based tools and services designed to support Aboriginal people engaged in language archiving, language teaching & culture revitalization”.  In ETEC 521 we are discussing factors that make Aboriginal education distinct.  The importance of language is one of these things.  Visitors to this site can hear Aboriginal languages being spoken.  There are activities for children as well as adults.

September 21, 2011   No Comments