October 9, 2019
Yukon Native Language Centre launches new language video project
Yukon First Nations, with the support of the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) and the Yukon Native Language Centre (YNLC), will produce high-quality videos to assist in revitalizing languages in the Yukon. A representative from each of Yukon’s 14 First Nations is training this week at the YNLC on newly purchased Community Recording Kits. The goal is to produce 20 videos each, for a total of 280 new language video recordings.
Trainees will learn how to use the new laptops and recording equipment, how to employ culturally respectful ways of recording speakers, as well as digital-records management procedures. The trainees will also become proficient in editing and transcribing. Video recordings are important teaching tools because they can convey important body movements, hand gestures, facial expressions and mouth and tongue configurations.
The project was made possible in part through funding from National Research Council of Canada’s Indigenous Language Technology initiative for language revitalization and preservation. Upon completion of the project, CYFN will host a celebration and launch of the videos to coincide with Aboriginal Languages Day, March 31, 2020.
Preserving and documenting our languages will enable Yukon First Nations to learn from and celebrate the wisdom and values of our Elders. These videos provide language-learners with access to fluent speakers.
Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston
The Yukon Native Language Centre is very excited as this project will provide training and support for one trainee from each of the 14 Yukon First Nations, which will contribute to local capacity for the use of technology in language documentation activities throughout the Yukon, while developing a library of new digital resources for language education, revitalization and promotion involving all Yukon First Nation languages.
Yukon Native Language Centre Director Tina Jules
- Each Community Recording Kit includes:
1 Terabyte hard drive (Rugged USB-C) LaCie brand
1 Mac Book Pro
1 iPhone lightning dock
1 Comica phone/iPod kit for video recording
1 ZOOM digital recorder
2 Shure microphones SM58s & XLR mic cables
2 SD cards
1 pair Head-phones
- There are eight distinct languages spoken by Yukon First Nations: Tlingit and seven Athapaskan languages – Upper Tanana, Gwitchin, Hän, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Kaska and Tagish.
- All of Yukon’s First Nation languages are endangered, according to the international development organization UNESCO, either severely (“language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves”), or critically (“the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently”).
- YNLC, in partnership with Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, has created a language exhibit at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, “We Are Our Language,” which can be viewed until October 12, 2019.
- YNLC offers ongoing language training and has online resources for all eight First Nations languages. Visit ynlc.ca
Council of Yukon First Nations
867-393-9200, ext. 9223