Adults shamed from speaking indigenous languages hold key to revival, survival | Metro News

An article about current work on revitalizing indigenous languages in Canada by training adult speakers: 

“There were generations of people, my parents and grandparents, who were sent to residential school and forbidden to speak their language and beaten and shamed and ridiculed and punished in all sorts of awful ways for speaking the language,” said Peter Jacobs, a UVic linguist and fluent speaker of his Squamish Nation language.

“A lot of those people who came out of that school system chose not to teach their children the language,” he said. “My dad doesn’t speak Squamish as his first language for that very reason even though both his parents were fluent speakers. That caused a big disruption.”

There are almost 60 indigenous languages spoken in Canada, with B.C. leading the country with 34 languages.

A November 2014 report by British Columbia’s First Peoples’ Cultural Council found a decline in fluent indigenous language speakers but an increase in semi-fluent speakers. The study looked at 129,000 people in B.C. who speak an indigenous language and found 60 per cent of fluent speakers are aged 65 and older, while one in three semi-fluent speakers are under the age of 25.

The program focuses on adults learning an indigenous language by being paired with a fluent speaker who is a mentor. The teacher and student are immersed in a curriculum where classes could involve hunting expeditions or family chores but are conducted entirely in the indigenous language.

Onowa McIvor, director of UVic’s indigenous education department, said she and Jacobs are compiling three years of data from 67 participants in the mentor-apprentice program. The participants range in age from young adults who recently completed high school to people in their 50s, she said.

“These are the people, the first generation, their parents didn’t teach the language to them,” said McIvor, a Cree from Norway House, Man., who completed the mentor-apprentice program as an apprentice.

“Their parents were growing up in a Canada where it wasn’t cool to be Indian,” she said. “In fact, most indigenous people thought they were doing right by their kids and doing better for their kids by not teaching them the language.”

McIvor said she believes the researchers’ work is “a tangible example of reconciliation in action.”

Participants have noticed their connections with relatives and their traditions have strengthened along with their language skills, she said.

“We are seeing what’s happening on the ground and we are watching in our lifetimes, in the last 10 or 15 years that Peter and I have worked in the field, we’ve witnessed new speakers, new adult speakers of the language.”

Read the full article.

Hopefully the recent promise by Justin Trudeau to enact an Indigenous Languages Act will include financial support for successful programs like the mentor-apprentice system mentioned in this article as well as immersion schools for younger learners. 

See also: the language-related recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation report about residential schools

Newfoundland fossil trove wins bid to become UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mistaken Point, so-named for its frequent disorienting fog, is home to the oldest-known evidence of early multicellular life.

A rocky stretch of coastline along the southeastern tip of Newfoundland that holds secrets about the origins of complex life has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Mistaken Point, so-named for its frequent disorienting fog, is home to the oldest-known evidence of early multicellular life — a 565-million-year-old sea floor that’s been slowly exposed by the pounding Atlantic surf.

International experts visited the ecological reserve last fall as part of province’s bid to establish a UNESCO site on the island’s east coast.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee made its final decision at a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday.

This will be Newfoundland and Labrador’s fourth World Heritage Site of 18 in Canada.

Others include Gros Morne National Park, the L'Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site and the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station.


This spectacular old home is a designated Heritage Building in Vernon BC by Verminator
Via Flickr:
Victorian Queen Anne-style home built in 1898.


Totems of Haida Gwaii - Tlell, Canada

On the south end of an archipelago sixty miles off the coast of mainland Canada lie the last remnants of the rich artistic heritage of the Haida people. The largest grouping of these Haida totems are found in the once thriving village Ninstints, which is guarded by twenty-six of these massive totem poles.

For more information on these haunting works visit atlasobscura.com

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
The hamlet is named for the nearby Lake Louise, which in turn was named after the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, and the wife of John Campbell, the 9th Duke of Argyll, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883.

The hamlet was originally called Laggan, and was a station along the Canadian Pacific Railway route. It was built in 1890.[4] The rail station building was preserved and moved into Heritage Park in Calgary.

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St Mary’s Ontario ~ Canada ~ Architectural Work of Art “Lionvale” 236 Jones St E by Onasill ~ Bill Badzo
Via Flickr:
Architectural Work of Art “Lionvale” 236 Jones St E in perfectly preserved Victorian Heritage town of St Marys (pop 6,600) . Circa 1880. Second Empire Italianate style, 5 bdrms ) Sold for approx &700. 000 The historic Lionvale in St. Mary’s Ontario Canada is for sale. St. Marys is a town in southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is located at the junction of Thames River and Trout Creek, southwest of Stratford and surrounded by the Township of Perth South. It is in the Perth census division but is independent of Perth County. The town is also known by its nickname, “The Stone Town”, due to the abundance of limestone in the surrounding area, giving rise to a large number of limestone buildings and homes throughout the town. St. Marys Cement, a large cement producer founded in the town, capitalized on this close feedstock, and grew to be a major producer of cement in the province of Ontario. St. Marys is home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hamilton removes bus shelter ads about transgender people in public washrooms
Transgender rights advocates say with city's new pro-LGBTQ pledge, the ads never should have been there

The City of Hamilton is rushing to remove three Christian Heritage Party (CHP) ads from local bus shelters that urge restrictions on which public washrooms people who are transgender can use — ads that have local activists fearing the city’s pledge to be more transgender-friendly is merely lip service.

The ads, which appear to show a man entering a door marked “Ladies Showers,” include the phrase “Where is the justice?”

The CHP also distributed 3,500 flyers to Hamilton Mountain homes. The flyers encourage residents to contact city councillors to especially keep transgender women out of women’s washrooms.

When informed of the ads on Wednesday, the city called them offensive and apologized.

“The city will be removing the ads and we are sorry for the offensive nature of them,” spokesperson Jasmine Graham said in an email. “We strive to be a welcoming community and are committed to equity and inclusion.”

A third-party contractor, Outfront Media, handles HSR advertising, Graham said, and “should ask the city about any questionable advertising content so the city’s senior management team can review and either approve or reject the ad … We are currently investigating to see where the breakdown was.”

Coun. Aidan Johnson will also introduce a motion to that effect at a city council meeting Friday.

It’s bad timing for the city, which settled an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal complaint in April on this issue. The settlement came after a security guard told a transgender woman she couldn’t use the women’s restroom at the MacNab bus terminal.

Continue Reading.


2016 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest’s Best Entries

#1 Jonas Blizzard And The Flatiron Building, New York, United States

#2 Beast, South Dakota, United States

#3 Wherever You Go, I Will Follow You, Japan

#4 Mystic Shed, Finland

#5 Golden Sunrise, Tuscany, Italy

#6 Blizzard In The Mountains, Switzerland

#7 Namibian Desert, Namibia

#8 Family Ties, Japan

#9 Trollstigen, Norway

#10 Terraces Village In The Mist, China

The National Geographic has always been a showcase for the world’s most evocative photography, and its prestigious annual competitions never fail to attract the most talented photographers from around the globe.

The 2016 Travel Photographer Of The Year Competition is no exception, and as you can see from the selection of pictures below, this year’s judges have no easy task in choosing a winner from these amazing entries.

The Grand Prize on offer is a 7-day Polar Bear Safari for two (including airfare) at Churchill Wild-Seal River Heritage Lodge in Manitoba, Canada. But the real prize of course is simply being named National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year. The competition ends on May 27 so you’ve still got time to enter.