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First Nations
Education Foundation

The First Nations Education Foundation collaborates with First Nation governments to develop language revitalization programs for at-risk indigenous dialects using contemporary educational practices and innovative, interactive technology.

RAPID WORD COLLECTION METHODOLOGY

FNEF employs a process developed by SIL International called "The Rapid Word Collection (RWC) method which aims to revolutionize the task of collecting words by using a systematic method to capture these words in a workshop organized in the language community. Rather than the default language worker’s process of collecting words over a period of years and then publishing a work containing 5,000 words or so, RWC workshops consistently achieve a total of 10,000 or more raw entries during a brief two-week period. When compiled in lexical format, this will result in approximately two thirds of that amount as unique lexical entries with one or more senses." SIL http://www.rapidwords.net/

Watch the video below to witness the impact of Rapid Word Collection in a community - So much more than just dictionary building. 

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WHAT WE DO

We build teams of subject matter experts to assist in achieving the objectives defined by the community and are specialists in Rapid Word Collection (RWC) and Rapid Story Collection (RSC) workshops, lexicography, orthography, archiving, curriculum and lesson development in contemporary pedagogy for use in the community school system, and content digitization and delivery.

We work with communities within the scope of an MOU that clearly defines all work and content belongs to the community, is owned by the community and stays with the community; is confidential and can not be shared without the express written permission of the community. 

We aim to affect change within the sphere of Indigenous language revitalization by challenging beliefs (historical/contemporary valuations of Indigenous languages as ‘less than’, ensuring community ownership and pride in language programming) as well as basic routines (by recording languages from a First Nations- centric perspective rather than a colonial Eurocentric approach, and by introducing an interactive online platform that will engage younger learners in a novel way). Specifically, we collaborate with communities to create interactive digital language learning platforms that maintain Elder recordings and allow for interactive language learning through detailed curricula and cultural activities.

There is a sense of urgency associated with Indigenous language revitalization in Canada considering the pace of the aging demographic and the passing of fluent Elder speakers (or their diminished capacity to participate in the work) resulting in irretrievable loss of language and culture. This has influenced our focus toward applied linguistics and efficient program design in content collection, digitized archiving, delivery and consumption.

Our programs and methodology are directly influenced by the work of M. Paul Lewis and Gary F. Simons of SIL International and their published work - Sustaining Language Use - Perspectives on Community-Based Language Development http://leanpub.com/sustaininglanguageuse, published 2016-07-05.

Lewis and Simons define their "Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS)" as a tool used to identify the current state of vitality of a communities language and to establish a desired sustainable level of use to be aimed for as defined by the community.

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SHOP & SUPPORT
THE FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION FOUNDATION

Purchase original art by local indigenous artists carved from off cuts of the +800 year old cedar of the Language Revitalization Pole and support indigenous artists and Language revitalization programs. There is a limited amount of cedar left from this UNESCO supported installation and each piece comes with a certificate of authentication. 

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