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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 programs 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 the power with the Nations, continually engaging with community members throughout the program, and focusing on capacity-building to ensure sustainability.
Our programs support TRC 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 manor the community deems appropriate.
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