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Restorying Language through Stories of Our Elders

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Title: Restorying Language through Stories of Our Elders
Authors: Michel, Kathryn
Matthew, Robert
Billy, Janice
Issue Date: 04 Mar 2017
Description: A community-based research project titled, “Restorying Language through Stories of Our Elders” paired community-based researchers with fluent Elders to record personal narratives and cultural stories from Elders from the Secwepemc Nation in south-central British Columbia. The Elders' stories were developed into "user-friendly" resources to help engage younger people in language revitalization and to further mobilize intergenerational language use (Hinton 2001; Fishman and Garcia 2010; Anderson and Ignace, 2008). Sharing of stories that link the language to the land help in language regeneration through connecting to individuals to the collective. Language and land go hand in hand. First Nations identity is based on the knowledge of traditional territory, place names and stories. In this presentation, land-based language educational strategies will be highlighted that stemmed from a question asked of the Elders, “What are the most important places young people should learn?” Elders shared how stories reinforce the interconnection of two key values of "k'wselt'knews" and "knucwestsut.s", or, between family and self. Stories help to prepare children for their role in society by helping to guide their individual training (vision quest), by teaching values, problem solving, and by helping them make sense of the world and their role in community. Stories strengthen connections to the land and can be used as a tool for shaping thought, bringing clarity, and consciousness to the world around you. Key findings to be shared: • Storytelling pedagogy • Relationship between the Elders and younger generations • Indigenous knowledge of the land and cultural values • How to integrate stories into content areas and ways of supporting the language learner: comprehensible input, repetition and graphic cues Stories told by local people sharing their lived experiences can be particularly engaging to young people (Loewen, 1995). This community-based research project produced a collection of oral stories from 6 Secwepemc Elders that were then adapted into children's books, maps with placenames, a website, and a variety of classroom language curricula.
Appears in Collections:5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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