Stories from The Forum

Indigitization Futures Forum 

by Michelle Kaczmarek and Emily Guerrero

Welcome and Introduction

Larry Grant, Elder from Musqueam Nation, welcomes the participants to the forum with teachings about the First Nations Longhouse and its history, and the importance of language revitalization projects. Gordon Yusko, from the IKB Learning Centre at UBC, is also featured introducing the forum.


Panel #1 – Hearing the Past and Speaking About the Future


Joey Caro, Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group

Dr. Bernice Touchie, Language Coordinator, Ittatsoo Learning Centre

Rory Housty, Resource Centre & Research Assistant, Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre

Past Indigitization participants come together to discuss both completed and ongoing audio digitization projects, to tease out areas of tension in these projects and to discuss how the end-results are being used in their communities.  Joey Caro, from the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group and Penelakut, touches on many practical issues around how to organize information after it’s digitized, how to make it accessible to the community. Dr. Bernice Touchie, the Language Coordinator at the Ittatsoo Learning Centre in Ucluelet, speaks to how the digitized material can be utilized in language learning, and provides rich description of how she’s using those materials to help structure the way culture is taught at the Learning Centre. Rory Housty from the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre discusses to how the materials have been incorporated into the Centre’s programing, and the wide range of information uncovered during the digitization and translation process.


Panel #2Respecting Rights While Providing Access to Digitized Projects


Sherry Strump, Tsilhqot’in National Government

Bella Alphonse, Tsilhqot’in National Government

David Schaepe, Director, Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre

Kate Hennessy, Simon Fraser University

In panel 2, panelists come together to share insights from their experiences developing access protocols and policies to the newly digitized content. This panel discusses consideration of bigger-picture issues related to providing access, including overall governance and the rights of individuals, families and the community.  To start off the conversation, Sherry Strump and Bella Alphonse from the Tsilhqot’in Nation discuss their experiences digitizing materials made during Traditional Use Studies. They speak to issues which arise during the translation process, and touch on how to navigate release forms which were originally signed before the rise of the internet, and therefore may not cover all necessary permissions. Dave Schaepe, the director of the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, brings in experiences of helping to create a digital cultural database for the Stó:lō Nation. Stó:lō Connect brings together information about different types of land and different traditional land uses in one accessible database. This brings up issues of how to store culturally important and culturally sensitive information, and how to provide access. Kate Hennessy discusses  several project she has worked on with a few different communities which all involved creating online access to cultural information. She notes issues which came up around how to share information, control over circulation, and issues with various information organizing systems.


Lunchtime Keynote Speakers

“Digital Futures: Indigenous Language Revitalization in the 21st Century”

Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla, PhD

Language & Literacy Education (UBC)


Mark Turin, PhD

First Nations & Endangered Languages (UBC)


During the lunchtime keynote address, Dr Turin and Dr Galla bring us examples of how technology is being harnessed to support language revitalisation beyond British Columbia.

Dr Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla is an Assistant Professor with the University of British Columbia’s Department of Language and Literacy Education. She examines some positive developments in Hawai’i, where digital multimedia technologies are making is easier to learn and use the Hawaiian language in everyday contexts.

Dr Turin is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and Chair of the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program. He speaks about how technologies can be used in the work of collecting, protecting and connecting endangered languages. He shares his experience with the Digital Himalaya initiative in Nepal. Dr Turin also looks to radio as an example of how low-tech, community-based technologies have been rejuvenated through the web to become promising platforms for language revitalization.


Panel #3: Keeping it all together: Information systems and content management


Alissa Cherry, Research Manager, Audrey & Harry Hawthorn Library & Archives, Museum of Anthropology, UBC

Elizabeth Shaffer, Director of Collections, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

Amber Ridington, Folk & Heritage Consultant and Doctoral Candidate, Department of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Michael Wynne, Digital Applications Librarian, Washington State University

Alissa Cherry and Elizabeth Shaffer share their experience in implementing information management systems and discuss how they are integrating varied media files and information about these files within specific management tools. Folklorist and heritage consultant, Amber Ridington speaks about her experience using content management systems on collaborative heritage projects and shares insights regarding how these systems may or may not meet the needs of different Indigenous communities. Michael Wynne discusses one open-source platform in particular, Murkutu, explaining its recent developments, and the ways in which is it being used by projects to incorporate multiple voices and stories within content.


Panel #4: Connecting and revitalizing: making media work for the community


Marianne Ignace, Simon Fraser University

Aaron Leon, Splatsin Tsm7aksaltn

Marvin Williams, Indigenous Planning Facilitator, Lake Babine Nation Treaty Office

Ramona Rose, Northern BC Archives, UNBC

The long-term goal of Indigitization is to support the integrating of digital content into community programs.  The Aboriginal Audio Digitization and Preservation Program (AADPP) was an initial step for some communities towards making audio recordings accessible for community use. This panel speaks about how time-based and other media has been integrated into language and other programs, discussing ideas for the next steps in making media accessible. Marianne Ignace explains how supporting and recording storytelling in Secwepemc is helping to reclaim and maintain the rich complexity of the language; she is now working on incorporating the stories into story apps with beautiful illustrations. Indigitizaton participants, Aaron Leon and Marvin Williams, share the progress of their digitization projects. Aaron explains his work with UBC Okanagan developing a videogame app to share stories and Marvin generously shares some of the stories and practices that have been recovered through digitization. In her talk, Ramona Rose from the Northern BC Archives, speaks about some of the unique storage agreements and protocols that UNBC has developed with Northern BC communities.

Tweets from the Forum