Tekkru Media Blog

First Nations Youth Perspective

Gathering Our Voices 2009


Keeping Culture Alive

Being a young aboriginal person who has lost touch with his culture, it was very empowering for me to witness the pride that other youth who attended the 2009 Gathering Our Voices Aboriginal Youth Conference had in sharing their culture. There were many opportunities through out the conference for youth to share their culture in a variety of forms; there were songs at meal time, there was a pow-wow held, and many of the performances for the talent show displayed cultural songs and dances, some of them mixing the old culture with the new. The youth were not only provided a chance to share their culture though, they were also given the opportunity to learn how to preserve there culture through many of the workshops presented as well, with topics such as working with elders, using new technology, and using funded programs.

The first aspect of preserving a culture is learning it from someone who has much knowledge about it, and who knows the most about culture? Elders, well at least that’s how it is in my community and I’m sure in most other communities as well. The elders of our communities actually lived our culture that was their way of life thus making them the best mentors for someone is trying to learn their culture, and an integral part of keeping the culture alive. In the workshop Elders Don’t Bite, they brought youth and elders together so that the youth that were looking to connect with elders could learn how to do so, and the elders that were in attendance could share their wisdom, patience, kindness, and guidance with the youth so both groups could create an atmosphere where mutual respect and understanding can grow, and work in unity to preserve aboriginal culture.

So after elders and youth get on the same page as far as teaching and learning the culture go, how do they make sure it lasts forever? Record it, and in these modern times there is so much technology available that it wouldn’t be hard to do at all, just need the right equipment and a little training. Dr. Strang Burton, in his workshop Technology & Teaching: Methods for Building a Multimedia Language Lesson, taught youth how to use a computer, a microphone, and the recording software Audacity to record language taught by elders to youth, and possibly use it in future language lessons. The workshop focused mostly on the demonstration of how simple a process it can be to work with a fluent speaker of a language and modern technology to make the language last forever.

Another workshop presented by First Voices also showed how technology that most of us already have, and I-pod and a computer, can be used to record aboriginal languages. The workshop also described the First Voices program, which provides equipment, training, and funding to first nation’s communities to help preserve their culture. First Voices has an online data base of languages from 60 different communities with public access to 35 of those languages. This makes it really easy for a community to come together and work to keep their culture alive and show everybody that they are willing to do the work.

The overall experience of attending gathering our voices 2009 was very inspiring, to see the old and the new coming together to “future proof” our culture and ensure that the generation of today, and generations in the future will be able to learn the culture, and know where they came from.

Chuu (Which means good bye in the Nuu-chah-nulth Language)


March 25, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 Gathering Our Voices, Media Events

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