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Şóo'aantum chamnéshkinum yumáykawichum michá' pomqálqalay: Protecting our ancestor's places

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Title: Şóo'aantum chamnéshkinum yumáykawichum michá' pomqálqalay: Protecting our ancestor's places
Issue Date: 01 Mar 2013
Description: The Cultural Resource Department for the presenter’s Tribe was established to house a number of programs that support and perpetuate tribal self-determination. The department oversees various projects in the areas of cultural resource management, language revitalization, heritage preservation, artifact curation and the creation of an in-house archival collection and library. One of the most important projects for the Department is the development of a Tribal territory map, which consists of relocating and documenting traditional places. These mapped places include the names of religious locations, mountains, hills, villages, streams and gathering areas. These data are contained in tribal songs and oral histories, ethnographic and linguistic resources, and anthropological publications. This project has become a nexus for defining the Tribe’s traditional landscape.

As the region continues to be devoured by expanding development, this particular project is an invaluable tool for advancing the Tribe’s mission to protect and preserve cultural heritage through language. The main goal is to educate lead agencies and planning departments about the history and culture of the region through the place name project.

Tribal names can impart valuable information about the place. The name may be translated into a physical feature of the landscape, a plant that grows in the vicinity, or reference a special event that occurred at the location. The Indigenous peoples of the land hold a deep history and understanding of the landscape and our Tribal songs and accounts tell of special events at these places. They also explain why and how the places were named. Some locations are tied to events such as the creation of the world, or special religious observances or gatherings occurred there. However, only the Tribe can provide explanations about the embedded cultural information that is contained in place names.

Even though a high-tech digital map is the sophisticated end product of this project, in reality it is all based on the language. This is one way the Tribe is utilizing the language on a daily basis. This project not only educates the Tribal population, but also the larger community, including lead agencies that have a say in the development process.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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