Hold on, good things ahead..

FNEF Language Revitalization Pole to remain in Port Alberni in response to increasing calls from the community

November 5, 2019, Vancouver, B.C. – The First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) announced today that they have agreed to keep the FNEF Language Revitalization Pole in Port Alberni in response to increasing community calls for it to remain in the city. The carving phase of the project is approaching completion and the next phase, in which the pole will be raised, will now follow in 2020.

FNEF Executive Director, Scott Jeary, says the non-profit First Nations Education Foundation has always seen itself as the facilitator of the project not the owner. He says the group is more than happy to oblige the wishes of the local First Nations and the Port Alberni community; and with full support from UVic which is where the Language Revitalization Pole was originally to have been raised and located once completed.

“The mandate of the FNEF Language Revitalisation Pole is to raise awareness of the plight of Indigenous languages and shine a spotlight on the importance of revitalizing these languages, while also celebrating the great work that is being accomplished in this field,” said Scott Jeary. “We have always taken the approach that we are just the facilitators of the Language Revitalization Pole project, not the owners of a commissioned work of art. We are really pleased with the way the Port Alberni community has rallied around the project and how they’ve made it their own and taken it to heart.”

Jeary also notes that, in the early days of the project, UVic had kindly agreed to serve as the location for the Pole once it was completed in order to provide broad public access to it in a respectful setting: “The folks at UVic have been great throughout the project and incredibly supportive. When we advised them of the broad, increasing support in the Port Alberni community for the pole to remain there, they were 100 percent onside with the new plan and I want to thank them for that,” said Jeary.

Once the carving phase of the Pole project is completed, a traditional ceremony will take place to close the eyes of the Pole and lay it at rest until the eyes are opened again when it is raised. The pole raising in Port Alberni, and the ceremony to open the eyes, is planned to take place in the spring of 2020.

A fundraising Gala is also being held on November 22 to help support the project. The Gala is being hosted by The Owls Path of Port Alberni featuring Indigenous eco-fashion designer NoMinNoU. Information and tickets for the event can be found on Facebook at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/535812040564591/.

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Media Contact:

Scott Jeary
604-340-5170
[email protected]

Online resources:

Special Visitors Bring Strength and a Blessing to the FNEF Language Revitalization Pole Carving Team

“… the spiritual connection – that cord – can go a long way and reach and travel…. If spiritual support is there, that’s the strength that we needed at this time to move forward and that changed everything.”

– Master Carver Tim Paul –
 

September 16, 2019, Vancouver, B.C. – Master Carver Tim Paul, and the team of carvers working on the Language Revitalization Pole in Port Alberni, recently received some much-needed spiritual support and a blessing from several special visitors: Leroy Little Bear and his wife Amethyst First Rider from the Blood Reserve, Blackfoot Confederacy, in Alberta and Rose Thater Braan-Imai of Tuscarora Six Nations, California.

In a newly-released 4-minute video posted on the FNEF website, Tim Paul talks about the spiritual support these visitors gave to the carving team and how it gave them the strength to carry on and make sure they finish the pole this year to bring recognition to Indigenous languages throughout the world.

“People must realize the power of prayer. What Leroy does for us, what Rose does for us, when they go back home, the spiritual connection – that cord – can go a long way and reach and travel,” Tim Paul says in the video. “If spiritual support is there, that’s the strength that we needed at this time to move forward and that changed everything.”

In late July, the First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) issued an urgent appeal for funds to keep the pole carving project on schedule. Thanks to efforts of many, the pole carving work led by Tim Paul could potentially be completed by the middle of October, which will make it possible for the project to stay on track and for the pole to be raised this year – during the 2019 U.N. Year of Indigenous Languages – if the engineering work, and the necessary funds to complete the engineering work, can be found quickly.

In late July, Les Doiron, the volunteer CEO of FNEF and former President of the Yuułuʔiłʔath Government (the Ucluelet First Nation), noted that the Language Revitalization Pole was in “a race against time” in much the same way as Indigenous Languages worldwide, adding that the Language Revitalization Pole project, and what it symbolizes, is of utmost importance to all First Nations and to Indigenous Peoples across Canada.

In July, FNEF Executive Director, Scott Jeary, reiterated the importance of raising awareness of the plight of Indigenous Languages to help “frustrate and reverse the countdown to extinction” facing so many of them; Indigenous languages here in B.C. and Canada and those around the world.

Jeary and Doiron say they are grateful to all those who responded with generosity to the group’s “Raise the Pole” fundraising campaign this summer, such as Christopher Devlin of DGW Law in Victoria who – after providing a significant financial contribution to the project – issued a pledge to donate $10,000 more if individuals and/or companies can raise $10,000 in matching funds.

Those who would like to contribute to the Language Revitalization Pole project can do so through the donation link on the FNEF website at https://fnef.ca/donate/. FNEF is a registered non-profit with CRA Charitable Status and can issue tax receipts for those who would like to receive one.

In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/71/178) proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, based on a recommendation by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. At the time, the Permanent Forum expressed concern that 40 per cent of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages were in danger of disappearing – the majority belonging to Indigenous peoples.

For additional background information on the FNEF Language Revitalization Pole project and the Barkley dialect language revitalization program, please see the links to online resources below.

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Media Contact:

Scott Jeary
604-340-5170
[email protected]

Online resources:

 

First Nations Education Foundation invites Canadians to help “Raise the Pole”

Language Revitalization Pole carving “suspended” due to current funding gap: Group issues urgent appeal

“… we’re hoping Canadians, and Canadian corporations, will answer the call to “Raise the Pole” and help us raise the $50,000 we need to get us through the summer to the point in the fall where further funding will hopefully be announced.”

– Les Doiron, volunteer CEO of FNEF and former President of the Yuułuʔiłʔath Government (the Ucluelet First Nation) –

July 29, 2019, Vancouver, B.C. – The First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) is issuing an urgent appeal for funds to help fill a gap between the funds already raised for carving the Language Revitalization Pole and major contributions and sponsorships expected to arrive in September. The carving part of the project is underway, but funds are needed to keep the work on schedule. The finished Pole is scheduled to be raised during a Pole-raising ceremony at the University of Victoria (UVic) this fall.

The current funding shortfall has led to a temporary halt to the carving work during the crucial summer months; and if $50,000 cannot be raised within the next two weeks, the shortfall threatens to delay the preliminary structural engineering and site preparation work at UVic as well. Delays to the carving and the preliminary site work mean there is a real chance that the Language Pole might not be raised this year in the U.N. Year of Indigenous Languages. By contributing in this way, ordinary Canadians can quite literally help “Raise the Pole”.

Les Doiron, the volunteer CEO of FNEF and former President of the Yuułuʔiłʔath Government (the Ucluelet First Nation), says it’s ironic that the Language Revitalization Pole, as with Indigenous Languages themselves, is now in a race against time. He says the project, and what it symbolizes, is of utmost importance to all First Nations and Indigenous Peoples across Canada.

“We have pending applications with two major Canadian firms for major funding that will hopefully carry the project through to completion, along with a funding application submitted to the Western Economic Diversification “Canadian Experiences Fund” and another application submitted to the Canadian Council for the Arts. However, the potential funds from these sources will not be in place for July and August. That’s why we’re hoping Canadians, and Canadian corporations, will answer the call to “Raise the Pole” and help us raise the $50,000 we need to get us through the summer to the point in the fall where further funding will hopefully be announced.”

Those who would like to contribute can do so through the donation link on the FNEF website at https://fnef.ca/donate/. FNEF is a registered non-profit and has CRA Charitable Status and can issue tax receipts for those who would like one.

Doiron says he is grateful to all those who have responded with generosity to the group’s “Raise the Pole” campaign so far, such as Christopher Devlin of DGW Law in Victoria who, after providing a significant contribution, has issued a pledge to donate $10,000 more if individuals and/or companies can raise $10,000 in matching funds.

“Christopher has come up with a generous and novel way to help us raise the $50,000 we need in the next two weeks,” said Doiron. “Every contribution has been greatly appreciated and helped us accomplish an incredible amount in a very short space of time.”

FNEF Executive Director, Scott Jeary, adds that one of the stated goals of the Language Revitalization Pole is to raise awareness among Canadians in the hope of attracting greater resources, and increasing the number of organisations and individuals stepping up to be disruptors, to help “frustrate and reverse the countdown to extinction” facing so many Indigenous Languages: “Maybe it was meant to be that, on this journey, the Pole had to be in need, just like the languages themselves, to help amplify the message. I’m sure that’s what Master Carver Tim Paul would say, and I think it’s so.”

To underscore the urgency and vital importance of Language Revitalization to his First Nation, and to all Indigenous Peoples, across the Country and around the world, FNEF’s Les Doiron says: “When we embarked on the Language Revitalization Pole project in late January, we had fewer than seven Elder fluent speakers of the Barkley dialect in our Ucluelet First Nation. Today, we are down to just four Elders who can speak the dialect fluently. We are at a crisis point if we can’t raise the funds necessary to complete the Pole project to help sustain our language revitalization programs. In the last seven months, we’ve been able to accomplish more to save our language and inspire people than we have in the previous decade. We can’t stop now.”

For additional background information on the FNEF Language Revitalization Pole project and the Barkley dialect language revitalization program, please see the links to several online resources below.

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Media Contact:

Scott Jeary
604-340-5170
[email protected]

Online resources:

First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) releases new video entitled “Victory Song” chronicling recent work on the Language Revitalization Pole

“This great cedar is about 800 years old; before this town even existed. But when this was a seedling, our creator knows the destinies of everything that exists on this earth, and he knew what this was going to be for, way before it even started growing.”

– Harry Lucas, Nuu-chah-nulth language-speaker and Elder –


April 18, 2019, Vancouver, B.C.
– The First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) has released a new 5-minute online video that chronicles recent preparation work being done by the carving team in Port Alberni on the 800-year-old cedar log selected for the FNEF Language Revitalization Pole. This new video, entitled “Victory Song,” is the second in a series of videos being produced by filmmaker Dale Devost to document the carving of the pole. The new video, along with several other videos, can be accessed on the videos page of the FNEF website: https://fnef.ca/videos/.

In addition to master carver Tim Paul, who leads up the pole carving project, the new video also features Harry Lucas, a Nuu-chah-nulth language-speaker and Elder. In the video, Lucas speaks eloquently about the significance of the cedar tree Tim Paul selected for the pole – first in Nuu-chah-nulth and then in English. As Lucas states in the video: “This great cedar is about 800 years old; before this town [Port Alberni] even existed. But when this was a seedling [pointing to the cedar log], our creator knows the destinies of everything that exists on this earth, and he knew what this was going to be for, way before it even started growing.”

In a previous FNEF video, Tim Paul spoke passionately about the significance of the tree selected for the pole and talked about what the tree represents for Truth and Reconciliation: “It’s holding something of importance; the language, the key to who we are and how we are able to be the ones that survived to bring things forward. To share and be in amongst our neighbours. To give us goodwill, to give us something like this.”

Future videos will be made available periodically throughout the pole carving process.

The FNEF Language Revitalization Pole was commissioned to celebrate the United Nations’ 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages. The video footage being captured by filmmaker Dale Devost will later be used in full in education tool kits for distribution to the 11,000 UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) in over 180 countries and as content for language lessons on the FNEF platform.

For additional background information on the FNEF Language Revitalization Pole project, please see the links below to online resources.

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Media Contact:

Scott Jeary
c. 604-340-5170
e. [email protected]

Online resources:

·     BACKGROUNDER – FNEF and Language Revitalisation Pole

·     FNEF – Language Revitalization Pole rendering for UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 – 8×11

·     Draft – Tim Paul – original drawing – Language Pole

·     International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL 2019) Events

·     FNEF and Six Factor announce new Indigenous language app: secure, instantly available, and customizable

Issue of language revitalization should not be reduced to a question of money

The following opinion-editorial by FNEF Executive Director Scott Jeary was printed in the Waterloo Region Record

 

Issue of language revitalization should not be reduced to a question of money

Language revitalization work is not the simple expiation of white guilt, Scott Jeary writes.

OPINION Mar 03, 2019 by Scott Jeary – Waterloo Region Record

In Peter Shawn Taylor’s column on Indigenous languages (Speaking out about language death — Feb. 28), he concludes that money should be spent efficiently in language revitalization work, which we feel most Canadians would agree with. However, writing on behalf of the First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF), I would say those opinions seem surrounded by the overall feeling or tone that language revitalization is a waste of time and that there is no justification for engaging in the process, which is why we decided to write. (more…)

First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) posts Online Video Documenting Language Revitalization Pole Naming Ceremony

February 13, 2019, Vancouver, B.C. – The First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) has released a short online video – the first in a series of videos that will document the carving of a 70-foot Language Revitalization Pole. The pole was commissioned to celebrate the United Nations’ 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages and is to be carved by renowned Nuu-chah-nulth carver Tim Paul – part of the Hesquiaht Tribe of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations.

The 4-minute online video posted by FNEF – which can be accessed here – documents the recent Pole Naming Ceremony that took place on January 23rd in the territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. The project team, led by carver Tim Paul, selected an 800-year old red cedar tree that fell naturally during a windstorm sometime during the past 50 to 70 years. An additional video clip is also available on the FNEF videos page showing the end cut being bucked off the massive log. (more…)

First Nations Education Foundation announces the commissioning of a Language Revitalization Pole to be carved in recognition of the UN 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

January 28, 2019, Vancouver, B.C. – In recognition of the UN 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, which officially launched earlier today in Paris, the First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) has announced the commissioning of a Language Revitalization Pole to draw attention to the importance of Indigenous language and culture in Canada. The Language Revitalization Pole will be carved by renowned Nuu-chah-nulth carver Tim Paul – part of the Hesquiaht Tribe of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations – and has received the patronage of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. (more…)

FNEF and Six Factor announce new Indigenous language app: secure, instantly available, and customizable

We have some great news to report about the work we’ve been doing over the past several months with Six Factor, our FNEF technology partner. Six Factor is western Canada’s Leading Google Cloud Partner, and together we are ready to field test the first generation of our FNEF Indigenous language app for smartphone, tablet, and desktop learning.

There are some key differences between our FNEF language app – which was built from the ground up to be secure and instantly available on a global level – and other language apps currently being used to curate and revitalize at-risk First Nations languages. For example, it has a “record and compare” feature that provides learners with a visual reference whereby the sound wave produced by their pronunciation of a word or words can be directly compared to the sound wave produced by a fluent speaker for enhanced pronunciation accuracy. (more…)

It’s 2018: Let’s not let the gift of Indigenous languages slip through our hands

As the new year of 2018 begins, it’s worth noting from the start that we continue to face a stark, ongoing reality: No Indigenous language in Canada is considered safe. This is the reality that drives our work and our FNEF language revitalization approach; namely, to develop language revitalization programs for at-risk Indigenous languages and dialects using contemporary educational practices and innovative, interactive technology. (more…)

Canada’s Residential School Story Launches on Google Earth Voyager

Google Earth recently made a wonderful new learning tool available to the public; one that helps tell the story of Canada’s residential schools and the devastating impacts the schools had on Indigenous people.

The new tool is part of Google Earth’s Voyager series and it takes full advantage of the powerful storytelling functionality Voyager brings to Google Earth’s popular mapping service. The result is a much needed primer on residential schools for elementary and secondary school students; told through a unique geographic lens. (more…)