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In most Residential Schools, the primary language was French or English, and Indigenous languages were suppressed, sometimes violently . Losing indigenous languages also lost community connections, lost culture and lost history. We can make a difference today. Teaching indigenous languages can help build communities, share culture and history and build understanding across communities.
Now is the time
Reconciliation with First Nations in Canada is an important topic for many Canadians. One of the essential parts of this reconciliation is reversing some of the cultural damage done in the past. But we must move quickly...
Unfortunately, due to historical and colonial policies like Residential Schools and the Sixties Scoop that focused on the destruction of Indigenous culture in school aged children for generations, and the natural ageing of the Elders who are the keepers of the oral history, the languages and cultural histories of First Nations' peoples are being lost forever.
To help capture this cultural knowledge before the Elders pass on, First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) collaborates with First Nation's communities to preserve and revitalize at-risk indigenous languages , using contemporary educational practices and cutting-edge technology. In its most simplistic form, FNEF is offering what many of us would think of as translation. However, FNEF is unique in its approach as it goes beyond the word. FNEF is working daily to facilitate knowledge transfer while preserving language and culture for generations to come.
Only so many Elders are left in Indigenous communities who hold the traditional culture and language. Hence, one of the most significant issues facing FNEF is time as Elders are an ageing demographic and they are passing away, and with them, the language and culture are disappearing. A big motivation for these Elders for participating in FNEF projects is to say through the preservation of their culture , "We are still here." They are very willing but need help.
FNEF provides the 204 First Nations communities across British Columbia and the North a way to preserve their unique language and cultures in an authentic and culturally appropriate manner. One based on a community world view , versus a Eurocentric world view.
FNEF has the team, the knowledge, and the ability to provide these communities, their descendants, and all Canadians access to an essential part of our foundational history. This is proven in their work with the Haisla community. We are currently working with communities, and we need the funds to complete digitizing the languages we have and start to bring the languages back into the schools and into the communities.
There is much more we need to do
FNEF has limited financial resources and can only help a small fraction of the communities that urgently need our assistance. We need the support of more people who understand the importance of this work to help more communities. With your donation, you can help advance the mission of FNEF and make an immediate difference in over 200 Indigenous communities across British Columbia. Your support will be instrumental in preserving traditional cultures and languages that were potentially almost lost forever.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help. Click on one of the photos from the column at the side , and donating is one way. Another way is to share our campaign with your friends , and those in your network who you think might be interested in making a difference.
What you can expect
We'll not only use your funding to make a massive difference in the preservation of First Nations culture , but we'll keep you updated on the progress we are making and the impact you've created.
Need more information
Visit our website at FNEF.CA
HighlightsSee all activity11
The First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) collaborates with First Nation governments to develop language revitalization programs for at-risk Indigenous dialects using contemporary educational practices and innovative, interactive technology. FNEF is an Indigenous-led, federally registered charity with a number of Indigenous advisors who provide valuable insight into healing programs.
FNEF programs are community-owned and driven, with all decisions and power resting with the communities we engage and serve. Each community oversees the program, ensuring that all activities are guided by the members. Respectful engagement with community members and Elders is a cornerstone of our programs. We aim to build capacity in members and emphasize community ownership of the digital platform, which users can update and communicate within to construct a living resource. Members are trained as we work side by side in Rapid Word Collection methodology and workshop delivery, transcription, data entry, orthography, and more. Given that our goal is sustainable language revitalization, the program's success is also dependent on ongoing engagement and feedback through community gatherings in each Nation. In each community that we engage with, we spend years developing trust and relationships with community members (including Chief and Council, Hereditary Chiefs, and Elders) prior to commencing any activities. Our program emphasis is on placing power with the Nations, continually engaging with community members throughout the program, and focusing on capacity-building to ensure sustainability.
Our programs support TRC's calls to action to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, and Language & Culture Activities to provide adequate funding for Language Revitalization, community-led initiatives, and recognition of language diversity.
FNEF has received formal support and recognition from the BC AFN, Reconciliation Canada, The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO among others, for their applied linguistic work, and for raising the awareness of Reconciliation in Canada and the vital link between indigenous language and culture.
FNEF have been very innovative with the use of current technology applied to language curation where the model can be easily customized, allowing the content to be tailored to the specific needs of the host community and language, and most importantly, under the control of that community to share or utilize the content in any manner the community deems appropriate.
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