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Exploring the potential for native language revitalization in an urban context : language education in… Baloy, Natalie Jean-Keiser 2008

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EXPLORING THE POTENTIAL FOR NATIVE LANGUAGE REVITALIZATION IN AN URBAN CONTEXT: LANGUAGE EDUCATION IN VANCOUVER  by NATALIE JEAN-KEISER BALOY  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Anthropology)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  August 2008 © Natalie Jean-Keiser Baloy, 2008  ABSTRACT This research explores dynamics around Aboriginal language learning and use in Vancouver, British Columbia. With many different First Nations and Aboriginal languages represented in the city, urban Aboriginal language revitalization is complex and challenging. Sixteen research participants talked with me about competing priorities for urban Aboriginal individuals and families, the linguistic diversity of the British Columbia First Nations, and how demographic urbanization of Aboriginal peoples intersects with movements of language revitalization. The resulting analysis highlights some emerging language ideologies connected to urban Aboriginal language use and learning. Language ideologies have been defined as “the cultural system of ideas about social and linguistic relationships, together with their loading of moral and political interests” (Irvine, cited in Kroskrity 2000:5). By identifying some commonalities in research participants’ attitudes around Aboriginal languages in the city, I argue that ‘placing language’ and ‘finding a place for language’ are critical issues for looking at Aboriginal language use and learning in Vancouver. By ‘placing language’, I mean that participants stressed the locality of Aboriginal languages, drawing important connections between land and language. Many honoured local languages by stating that their use and preservation should be top priorities in urban-specific language revitalization initiatives. They also recognized that other Native languages are represented in the city and could be fostered by collaboration with home communities, including reserve language programs. By ‘finding a place for language’, I mean taking time and making effort toward language learning and use in the fast-paced urban environment. Determining a place and a time for language in daily life or during events is crucial for language revitalization efforts in the city. This thesis specifies some suggestions for finding a place for language, highlighting different ideas shared by participants about public school language education, community centres as places for language learning, and use of local languages in service organizations and educational institutions and in the public sphere.  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................................................................ii TABLE OF CONTENTS .......................................................................................................................................iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................................................................iv DEDICATION .......................................................................................................................................................v INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................................................1 CONTEXT.............................................................................................................................................................2 Language Revitalization................................................................................................................................3 Urban Aboriginality.......................................................................................................................................6 METHODOLOGY .................................................................................................................................................9 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: LANGUAGE IDEOLOGIES ........................................................................... 11 Constructing and Contesting Language Ideologies............................................................................... 12 Historical Events and Processes and Dominant Language Ideologies .............................................. 13 Language-and-Identity and Language-and-Territory Ideologies..................................................... 16 Aboriginal Language and Identity ....................................................................................................... 16 Connections between Land and Language......................................................................................... 18 ANALYSIS .......................................................................................................................................................... 20 Placing Language – Emphasis on the Local ........................................................................................... 22 An Ideological Place for Language...................................................................................................... 25 A Practical Place for Language ............................................................................................................ 29 Aboriginal Language in Public Places .................................................................................................... 29 Public Schools ............................................................................................................................... 29 Agencies ......................................................................................................................................... 32 Public Places .................................................................................................................................. 33 Events and Ceremonies ............................................................................................................... 34 Personal and Collective Journeys toward Language Acquisition and Revitalization .................................. 35 Reserve Partnerships .................................................................................................................... 36 Language Immersion Camps....................................................................................................... 37 Internet Language Learning ........................................................................................................ 38 Singing and Dance Groups and Other Cultural Traditions Incorporating Language ........ 38 Master-Apprentice Language Learning...................................................................................... 40 CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................................... 43 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................................................ 46 APPENDIX: UBC BEHAVIOURAL RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL................. 50  iii  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS One of the research participants for this thesis told me her traditional teachings taught her that if you don’t know who you are and where you come from, you run afoul. This was an important lesson of my learning process during this study. Raised in a nearly all-white town in Ohio, I had little firsthand experience with diversity of any sort, but my fantastic parents and extended family members, including a couple of aunts and uncles in particular, fostered my curiosity about the world and supported me in my eventual pursuit of education in anthropology. My parents and siblings, my many aunts, uncles, and cousins, and my loving grandparents, taught me the importance of maintaining ties with my roots while encouraging me to embark on adventures far from home. My in-laws have also demonstrated their generous support for me over the years. I am extremely grateful for my family’s unwavering support of my educational journey so far and I look forward to continue on this path with their blessing. Throughout my undergraduate education at Eastern Michigan University and my graduate studies at the University of British Columbia, I have had several influential professors who provided me with unique insights into the effects of colonialism on peoples around the world and introduced me to various political perspectives on diverse issues. Through my undergraduate thesis supervisor and mentor, Dr. Karen Sinclair, I cultivated a greater understanding of the colonial histories of the Maori and their current political pursuits, which have shaped my research interests since. Dr. Veronica Grondona introduced me to research on language loss and revitalization, inspiring me to learn more and pursue research in the field. At UBC Dr. Henry Davis motivated me to channel this interest in new ways. The Department of Anthropology at UBC has enriched my understanding of the discipline with the help of committed faculty members and fellow students. I owe particular thanks to my supervisor, Dr. John Barker, who has been patient and supportive of my choices throughout my time in the program, and Dr. Pat Moore, who has deepened my understanding of language revitalization and linguistic anthropology through his classes and his works. Thanks also to Pat for helping me to shape my conceptualization of place and language presented in this thesis. Special gratitude is reserved for Lainie Schultz, Solen Roth, Emily Birky, and Tal Nitsan for their willingness to listen to my ideas, concerns, and difficulties over the last two years. Juliet Van Vliet has also been a great source of inspiration and critical insight for this study. I am hugely indebted to those who agreed to participate in this research. Their insights and perspectives are the core of this study. I appreciate their enthusiasm not only for my project but also for the potential of language revitalization in the city. Thank you for sharing your time and your stories. Finally, thank you to my best friend and husband, Chad, for his enduring patience and steadfast support, and for helping me to get away from my desk and books whenever possible to have fun together. I am so grateful for your passion for life and adventure.  iv  DEDICATION  To Horace  v  INTRODUCTION Aboriginal1 people from across British Columbia and other provinces have moved to Vancouver for permanent and temporary housing, education, and other opportunities in the city. Some have been born and raised in the urban setting but have ancestral roots in other locales. Still others are descendents of the original inhabitants of the area and reside on urban reserves or off-reserve but close to home. These diverse groups interact daily with each other and with the non-Aboriginal population, including many international immigrants and their families. Many priorities exist for all of these urban dwellers, as they shuttle within and between workplaces and schools, and develop complex networks of relationships with one another. These relationships are facilitated by a common language, English – a language that more people are learning to speak around the world. At the same time, Aboriginal communities across Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and many other countries, are labouring to revitalize their languages, striving to make their Aboriginal languages hold onto a place in their community members’ lives. Language revitalization efforts are overwhelmingly located in rural environments, but cities are the new frontier for the world’s population – people are increasingly choosing to live and raise families in urban settings, and Aboriginal people are no exception. How can language revitalization efforts intersect with the demographic trend of Aboriginal urbanization? This research project endeavours to address this question, to highlight the possibilities and challenges of urban language education in the specific context of Vancouver. Vancouver is the biggest city in British Columbia. According to the 2006 Census of Canada (StatsCan 2007), there are over 40,000 people identifying as Aboriginal in the Metro Vancouver area.2 This number represents approximately one-fifth of the total population of approximately 195,000 Aboriginal people living in British Columbia. These individuals come from more than thirty First Nations groups, many of which originated in the land now known as British Columbia. The province is also home to seven language families, more than thirty Aboriginal languages, and over sixty dialects. These languages are spoken with varying levels of proficiency within their communities; some have no fluent speakers remaining, others have children learning the language in language revitalization programs. As Dr. Henry Davis, a research participant for this study, asked, “What do you do when you’ve got a language that only ever had four thousand speakers at its maximum extent? That’s true of virtually every language in B.C. – there were lots of little tiny languages. You have this very interesting linguistic mosaic, but 1 In this paper, I will use various terms to refer to the descendants of the original people living on the land that is now Canada. I will use ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Native’ to refer to all Indigenous Canadians, regardless of political status, and to identify those who identify themselves as descendants of Canada’s First Peoples. I will also use the term ‘First Nations’. This distinguishes Aboriginal people who do not identify as Métis or Inuit, other major Aboriginal groups in Canada. Most Indigenous people of British Columbia are First Nations as Métis and Inuit populations originated in other places. 2 Metro Vancouver is comprised of municipalities closely connected to the City of Vancouver and its estimated population, according to the 2006 Census, is over 2.1 million. This includes the cities of Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, and North Vancouver, and several other cities and municipalities.  1  you have a massive political problem.” The problem is complicated further by the demographic fact of Aboriginal urbanization, bringing people from these linguistically diverse places together. How can urban language revitalization happen when there are so many Aboriginal languages potentially represented in one place? This research seeks to confront this issue. I will argue in this thesis that Aboriginal language revitalization efforts do have a place in the city by detailing emerging language ideologies of urban Aboriginal people, expressed during interviews for this study. Language and land are deeply connected for many Aboriginal people, and urban language education can model future programs to recognize and foster this connection. The next section, Context, provides background information about language revitalization and Aboriginal urbanization. In the Methodology section, I will explain how this research was conducted, describing my methods and research process. I will then continue by discussing the theoretical framework for this research – language ideology. The section entitled Analysis is dedicated to applying the concept of language ideology to the urban language revitalization context, drawing out language attitudes of research participants toward Aboriginal language education in the city. In this section, I will also confront the issue of linguistic diversity among the urban First Nations population of Vancouver. I will discuss ways of making a place for Native languages in the city, ideologically and practically. Finally, the conclusion reviews my main arguments and revisits the themes of the paper. Urban Aboriginal language revitalization is a relatively new but pressing challenge and it is my hope that this paper will contribute to future conversations about the topic.  CONTEXT This project was sparked by a single conversation but was built upon my accumulated experiences as a nonAboriginal person reading about, researching, and developing my understanding of Fourth World colonial politics, struggles toward language revitalization by Indigenous peoples, and the diverse experiences of Aboriginal people living in cities. The conversation that triggered this research happened two weeks after I arrived in Vancouver to begin graduate studies. I contacted Dr. Henry Davis to inquire about a course on community-based language research he had organized. We met to discuss the set-up of the course, which was to be based at the Lifeskills Centre in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver.3 The neighbourhood is notorious for high drug use, homelessness, and prostitution. It is also home to one-third of the Aboriginal population in Vancouver, where they are over-represented in homeless counts and face poor socioeconomic conditions (Cardinal 2006:219). Despite its  3 Dr. Davis had a longstanding interest in the Downtown Eastside and has served on the board of the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) Community Services Society, “one of the largest non-profit housing societies in the Downtown Eastside and a key player in the harm reduction approach to drug dependency” (Davis). The Lifeskills Centre is a drop-in centre run by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority in association with PHS.  2  reputation, the Downtown Eastside also offers many marginalized people a place of community and companionship. Dr. Davis decided to hold the methods course there after giving a talk on language revitalization for Downtown Eastside residents. He discussed his work with the St'át'imcets speakers of St'át'imc, north of Vancouver near Lillooet. He did not expect a great turnout, but the room was packed. Some Cree people attending the talk began speaking to each other in their language. Dr. Davis was rather surprised by the Cree speakers’ language exchange and the overall enthusiasm for learning and speaking Aboriginal languages. He decided to hold the hands-on part of his field methods course at the centre to discover which Aboriginal languages were represented as well as to identify individuals interested in learning their ancestral languages.4 This initial conversation with Dr. Davis inspired me to channel my pre-existing interest in language revitalization in new directions. I will now discuss language revitalization generally and Aboriginal urbanization to provide background information for this study. More contextual details will be added as I proceed to break down my argument and suggest recommendations for urban language revitalization efforts.  Language Revitalization Language revitalization efforts are pursued to curtail or reverse language shift, thereby avoiding language death. According to Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine (2000:90), “A language dies because an enduring social network to which people sought to belong somehow ceases to be.” The authors detail three ways a language dies. The first occurs when a language suffers complete population loss, by violence or spread of disease for example, both of which were experienced by Native North Americans during the European colonization of their continent. The second way is when speakers of one language quickly or gradually begin speaking another language – language shift. Forced language shift can be seen in overt governmental policies such as United States boarding schools and Canadian residential school systems that enforced use of the dominant language and enacted punishments for use of Native languages.5 Voluntary language shift occurs when “a community of people come to perceive that they would be better off speaking a language other than their original one” (2000:91). The authors highlight the blurry boundary between choice and coercion in voluntary language shift, noting hypothetical and historical examples that demonstrate a continuum between forced language shift and voluntary language shift (2000:93-97). Voluntary language shift across this continuum often results from situations of power inequality, symbolized by perceptions of dominant and minority language utilities as well as power dynamics between speakers 4 I was ultimately unable to take the course, but Dr. Davis kept me posted on the results of a language survey the students conducted. One of the students continued to volunteer at the centre, eventually establishing a Cree speakers group, of which I am a part. The group is starting to recruit new members. 5 I will talk more about the effects of the Canadian residential school policies later.  3  of dominant and minority languages. Susan U. Philips (2004:475) states, “At the heart of the relationship between language and social inequality is the idea that some expressions of language are valued more than others in a way that is associated with some people being more valued than others and some ideas expressed by people through language being more valued than others.” Philips reviews the relationship between language and political economy and the effect of colonialism on linguistic and social dynamics. “Most simply stated,” a political economy approach to language inequality “argues that economically disadvantaged persons have less prestige, and so do the codes [languages] they use. Conversely, economically advantaged persons have more prestige, and therefore so do the codes they use” (2004:483). As a result, the language used by those with more economic advantage is spoken in a wider range of domains while the languages associated with lesser economically advantageous groups is used less frequently and in fewer domains. Philips examines cases in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Southern Africa, where these attitudes and processes were most apparent and continue to exert influence today. Closely linked to the political economy approach, adherents to what Philips deems a “colonial transformation” typology of language and social inequality have not only emphasized the economic effects of colonization, pitting monetarily rich European colonizers against Indigenous peoples with devalued assets, but also the political consequences of the establishment of nation states and the enactment of governmental policies “in the exercise of control over colonized peoples” (2004:486). From this perspective, “the transformation of systems of language and inequality [has] resulted from and continue[s] to be influenced by European colonization of nonEuropean parts of the world, with particular attention to the emergence of a global order of nation-states that is a consequence of this broad process” (486-487). Nancy Dorian (1998:9) expands on this notion: “Europeans who came from polities with a history of standardising and promoting just one high-prestige speech form carried their ‘ideology of contempt’ for subordinate languages with them when they conquered far-flung territories, to the serious detriment of indigenous languages.” The transformation of the linguistic orders of these places is a direct result of colonial processes, and is reflected in language ideologies of the government, mainstream societies, and the individuals and communities where languages were lost or threatened. I will discuss the concept of language ideology in greater detail in the next chapter. For now, it is important to note that efforts are happening in diverse contexts around the world to combat the deep effects of associations between language and social inequality and to invigorate the languages straining against these processes. Battling language shift, reviving dead languages, and revitalizing endangered ones are no small tasks, and a myriad of tactics have been employed to resist language loss. The methods for reversing language  4  shift vary widely depending on the context of language revitalization projects, but communities seeking similar ends look to one another and to literature on language revitalization for examples and guidance.6 As communities, linguists, and language advocates express concern over endangered languages, scholars have developed many ways to articulate the pressing need for language revival and to explain to those not yet involved in the struggle why maintaining linguistic diversity is important. Nettle and Romaine (2000:50-77) link linguistic diversity to biodiversity, demonstrating that loss of languages around the world parallels loss of biodiversity around the world. They argue that languages, “like species, are highly adapted to their environments and that all extinctions have as their cause environmental change” (2000:50). Marianne Mithun (1998) also details reasons for maintaining the world’s linguistic diversity while endeavouring to highlight that diverse attitudes exist among people whose ancestral languages are dying and that different revitalization strategies must be taken in different contexts. Marie Battiste (2000) argues that Aboriginal languages and worldviews are increasingly needed as they can contribute to global dialogues on climate change and other realms of science. Finally, posing the question ‘why bother?’, Joshua Fishman (1991:10-38) responds to common questions and concerns raised by those who devalue linguistic diversity and language revitalization efforts. The fact that these authors have to defend the very existence of minority languages and maintenance of linguistic diversity demonstrates how pervasive dominant world languages have become and how significant the challenge to pursue language revival will continue to be. In order to aid in the course of action toward language advocacy, Jane Hill (2002) calls on scholars to evaluate the ways they advocate for saving endangered languages, warning that certain ‘expert rhetorics’ undermine their cause.7 She compares these rhetorics to community responses to language revitalization, noting several examples of scholarship that combine nuanced analysis and community members’ perspectives on their language status to develop an argument for the appreciation of linguistic diversity. In this thesis, I will thus endeavour to highlight research participants’ expressions concerning the revitalization of their ancestral languages, within the particular context of an urban setting, in my analysis.  6 Some important works on language revival efforts include Leanne Hinton’s 2003 Annual Review of Anthropology article on language revitalization, Leanne Hinton and Kenneth Hale’s Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice (2001), Joshua Fishman’s Reversing Language Shift (1991), and the many publications resulting from the annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages conferences, held since 1993 (Burnaby and Reyhner 2002; Cantoni 1996; Reyhner 1997, 1999; Reyhner et al. 2000, 2003). 7 For example, Hill discusses the tactic of ‘enumeration’, when scholars “present frightening statistics about the large number of languages spoken in the world today and the small number likely to survive at some point in the future” (2002:127). While she acknowledges that some find statistics particularly convincing of the need to save languages, she notes that the numbers game “contradicts the celebration of the local and the support of the oppressed,” and can cause frustration and resentment in communities who have suffered as a result of other statistical power struggles (2002:127). She advocates other rhetorics, including universal humanism, emphasis on the creativity and genius encapsulated in languages, and language as a human right.  5  Urban Aboriginality Urban-oriented policies and urban research pertaining to Aboriginal people are relatively new phenomena. To highlight the increase in urbanization of Aboriginal people in Canada, David R. Newhouse and Evelyn J. Peters (2003) note that, according to the 1951 Census of Canada, less than seven percent of Aboriginal people lived in urban settings. In 2006 census data show that 54 percent of Aboriginal people in Canada live in cities (StatsCan 2007). Other Census statistics comparing data from 1996, 2001, and 2006 indicate that the Canadian Aboriginal population is slightly more mobile than the non-Aboriginal population; some of this movement can be attributed to movement between cities, towns, and reserves. Given the diversity of individuals and their experiences in the city, many factors must be considered when developing urban policy addressing the needs of Aboriginal peoples (Newhouse and Peters 2003). There are many reasons why the numbers of urban Aboriginal individuals have increased over the last fifty years. Reserves are often located on marginalized lands and problems with economic development limit job opportunities, leading some to seek urban employment. Also, many rural reserve residents do not have easy access to postsecondary and sometimes even secondary education, so individuals will move to cities complete their high school or college education. Such movement between reserves and cities is complicated by stipulations for Native identity found in the Indian Act. “The Indian Act is the main piece of Canadian legislation which explicitly defines a specific subset of the Aboriginal populations: Registered Indians” (Guimond 2003:37). Registered Indians, also called Status Indians or Treaty Indians, are recognized by the federal government as officially possessing Indian identity. According to Bonita Lawrence (2003:3), “To be federally recognized as an Indian in Canada… an individual must be able to comply with very distinct standards of government regulation.” Moving off-reserve poses unique challenges for the Registered Indian individual: The Government of Canada historically took the position… that its responsibilities were limited exclusively to status Indians living on-reserve while provincial governments are primarily (but not exclusively) responsible for serving all other Aboriginal people. For their part, provincial governments contend that all Aboriginal people are the primary responsibility of the federal government. In short, each order of government continues to deny that it holds responsibility for urban Aboriginal policy. (Hanselmann 2003:171)  Due to jurisdictional disputes, when a Status Indian person leaves the reserve for the city he or she is no longer able to get full access to the rights and privileges, such as subsidized housing. Thus, movement between reserves and the city and back again can in part be explained by Aboriginal individuals juggling their need for economic stability – the city provides more opportunities for education and employment while the reserve offers possibilities for subsidies and income tax breaks. The implications of status recognition are complicated further by past Indian Act 6  legislation. Until Bill C-31 was passed in 1985, for example, a Registered Indian woman who married a non-Native man lost her Status recognition as did her children. By losing status, she was not allowed to live on-reserve. This now-defunct legislation required large numbers of Aboriginal women to relocate to cities with their children. When the legislation was repealed in 1985, many women sought to get their status reinstated. This process has reverberated into the present and has had significant impacts on Aboriginal demographics (Lawrence 2004).8 Clearly, Aboriginal urbanization is deeply connected to historical, legal, and political processes. Despite the dramatic increase in urbanization of Native peoples, much anthropological research on Aboriginal peoples has maintained a rural focus. Anthropologist and advocate Susan Lobo (2001a:xiv) gives three reasons for this discrepancy: 1) most Native North American homelands have been located in rural areas; 2) American Indian/First Nations studies have been heavily influenced by anthropology, a social science discipline that focuses on the rural compared to sociology which focuses on the urban9; 3) stereotypes of the rural and romanticized Native person have persisted and have been perpetuated by the media and educational systems.10 Historical processes, policies, and discourses developed a dichotomy between Aboriginal peoples and the city that has persisted over time (cf. Graham and Peters 2002:16-17; Newhouse and Peters 2003). “Authentic Aboriginal cultures were associated with the past, or with places distant from the metropolitan centres of society” (Wilson and Peters 2005:398). Lobo and others challenge the rural focus of scholarship with and about Aboriginal peoples and question the legitimacy of the linkage between rural and authentic. Kathi Wilson and Evelyn J. Peters (2005) argue that the making of reserves and continuation of band government has served to limit Aboriginal spaces on Canadian land: “Reserves became ‘Native space’ and the lands in between were ‘emptied’ for settlement, materially and conceptually” (399). Cities, even ones in close proximity to reserves, were not part of these ‘Native spaces’. As geographer Nicholas Blomley (2003:119) notes, calling on a Lockean notion of property of many early settlers, “Colonial cities, simply put, cannot be conceived as native spaces because they have so obviously been occupied, built upon and ‘improved.’” Through the 1970s, when larger numbers of Native people began moving to cities, social research on Aboriginal urbanization focused on the loss of cultural identity and adaptation to modern city life  8 See Guimond (2003) for a detailed analysis of ‘ethnic mobility’ – “the phenomenon by which individuals and families experience changes in their ethnic affiliation” (42). 9 According to Lobo (2001a:xiv), “a desire to avoid turf wars led to an unspoken code by academics that anthropologists could ‘have’ Indians, while sociologists could ‘have’ urban studies,” resulted in a situation where urban Aboriginal people were left out of the academic equation. 10 Lobo’s commentary on the division between the urban and the rural in anthropology had been extended to the linguistic anthropology literature on language revitalization as well as a significant portion of scholarship on language revitalization more generally.  7  for Native people relocating to urban centres.11 The perspectives generated from this position have contributed to the “lingering stereotype that ‘Indian’ is synonymous with rural and that urban is somehow not genuinely Indian” (Lobo 2001b:76). These attitudes persist in mainstream society today.12 To confront these lasting attitudes, several authors have come up with innovative ways of conceptualizing the urban Aboriginal individual and community. Lobo (2001b:71) defines the urban Aboriginal community as “a widely scattered and frequently shifting network of relationships with locational nodes found in organizations and activity sites of special significance.” Wilson and Peters (2005) and Renya Ramirez (2007) see the city as a transnational space for Aboriginal people, a place where Aboriginal people live while also maintaining ties with their homelands. Through examining how urban Anishinabek people connect with their traditional lands in Ontario, Wilson and Peters demonstrate that their research participants felt that they could incorporate their intimate link with homelands in their relatively new domain of the city. In doing so, they challenged notions of borders and bounded states. Going further, Ramirez (2007) characterizes the city as a Native ‘hub’, placing urban Aboriginals at the heart of political networking.13 “Like a hub on a wheel, … urban Indians occupy the centre, connected to their tribal communities by social networks represented by the wheel’s spokes” (2007:2). Ramirez (2007:15) explains, “Rather than assuming that urban Indians progressively lose a sense of their tribal identity and become closer to ethnics or other minorities, the term transnational highlights their maintenance of tribal identities.” Indeed, Vancouver represents a place where Aboriginal transnationals live, settle, or move to and from. Those who were born and raised here may still have close ties through their families to other places in the province or elsewhere in Canada. These links to traditional territories are not only fostered by trips home but are also cultivated in the urban context itself. Through participation in local Aboriginal events, patronage of Aboriginallyrun and/or culturally appropriate service and educational institutions, and relationship-building with other Aboriginal peoples in the city, many of Vancouver’s First Nations make a place for their cultures in the city. They invest time and effort into creatively adapting centuries-old traditions and bringing their stories to an urban setting. Aboriginal language learning and use is one possibility for maintaining connections with traditional homelands and making a place for Aboriginal cultures in the city. Development of urban language programs has been recommended in several reports on Aboriginal peoples in Canada. In the Executive Summary of the Task 11 Indeed, the expectation of urban assimilation motivated federal American Indian relocation legislation in the United States. These attitudes are assisted in Canada by the federal system which bases its fulfillment of fiduciary obligations in reserve settings, only giving Status Indians their full rights and privileges if they are on-reserve. In her book Real Indians and Others (2004), Lawrence points out the contemporary challenges urban mixed-blood Native people experience as they negotiate, assert, and struggle with their Aboriginal identities in urban spaces. She also highlights the internalization of Indian Act categories for Aboriginal identities, demonstrating how some Aboriginal people ascribe authenticity only to individuals with Indian status, which she argues is defined arbitrarily particularly as intermarriage occurs between Native and non-Native people. 12 As Julian Lang (2001) notes, this attitude persists in the minds of many Native leaders as well. 13 The ‘hub’ is a notion developed by Laverne Roberts, the founder of the American Indian Alliance.  8  Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures, the authors state, “The conclusion is that since First Nation, Inuit and Métis people living in cities tend not to use their languages at home, intergenerational transmission is exceedingly difficult” (2005:3). Furthermore, elders “urged educational institutions to focus on training programs, including immersion and bilingual schools, cultural camps, and urban language programs” (2005:4, emphasis added). In the 2007 Annual Report of the First Peoples Heritage, Language, and Cultural Council (FPHLCC), the organization highlights the time-sensitive challenges of language revitalization, citing the urgent need for effective language programs and difficulties related to lack of federal and provincial funding for operational programs.14 Given that over twenty percent of British Columbia’s Aboriginal peoples live in Vancouver, it is clear that promoting urban language learning ought to be a priority in language revitalization initiatives.  METHODOLOGY In developing this study, I sought guidance in works detailing research methodologies with, among, and for Aboriginal peoples (Mihesuah 2005; Tuhiwai Smith 1999), including research conducted by Indigenous scholars (for example, McIvor 2005). As a non-Aboriginal researcher, this was an important aspect of my preparations for research. I positioned my study as an exploratory effort in order to demonstrate that the questions my research addressed will need further exposition and more nuanced perspectives beyond the scope of this thesis. Because of the large and scattered Aboriginal population of Vancouver, determining who to approach as research participants was challenging. Due to the cultural diversity of Vancouver’s Aboriginal peoples, it would have been antithetical to my research to focus on one First Nations community within the city (if such a community exists) as I sought to explore possibilities of Native language education for all Aboriginal peoples in the city. As an anthropologist in today’s global age, delineating a research community has become more difficult; people move and have complex networks of relationships. In order to gain distinct perspectives from various potential stakeholders in urban language revitalization projects, I interviewed members of three main groups for my thesis – staff of organizations offering services to the urban Aboriginal population in Vancouver; educators in institutions geared toward the Aboriginal learner; and experts in the fields of Native education, culture, and endangered language research. I chose the method of semi-structured interviews in an effort to draw out research participants’ attitudes on language revitalization, urbanization, and the connection between the two. In a way this research had a top-down approach – I did not talk with individuals frequenting the service and education institutions nor did I engage in in-  14  Though governmental funding and support for language and cultural programming has increased over the last few decades, most funding is not geared toward long-term or multi-year projects.  9  depth participant observation. Because I was initially unaware of any language learning initiatives in the city, I could not easily find a location where Aboriginal language was happening and take notes about the process. I was essentially researching an absent phenomenon. Instead, interviewing research participants who had accumulated experience with issues relevant to the research topic allowed me to gain a wider view of the multifaceted challenges and opportunities for language learning in the city. I met with each research participant once for approximately one hour.15 Each interview brought distinct perspectives and experiences to bear on the research questions. From the service sector, I interviewed Sherry Small, program director of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society; Josephine Young,16 executive director of Children of the Future Association, a service agency for children in care; Jerilynn Webster, executive director of Knowledgeable Aboriginal Youth Association, a youth-run initiative for involving young Native youth in urban Aboriginal decision-making and programming; Barry Morris, the pastor of the Native Ministry at the Longhouse Church; Sandra Laframboise, elder and founder of Dancing to Eagle Spirit Society, a support and advocacy group based upon traditional teachings for two-spirited individuals; Donald Morin, Co-op Radio host of ‘When Spirit Whispers’, a radio show about contemporary Aboriginal issues; Nancy Sweedler, coordinator of Families Branching Out and other programs incorporating Aboriginal individuals at Collingwood Neighbourhood House; and Kwakwaka’wakw Man17, an active participant in an urban singing and dance group for his people. Although questions varied for each person depending on their role or type of organization, I asked everyone what the mission of their organization is; what programs have found success in their facility and what types of challenges their patrons face; what educational opportunities related to Native cultures the institution provides; and what, if any, philosophy their organization maintains concerning the promotion or validation of Native culture and history. I also asked if any of their patrons expressed interest in Native languages and if they could anticipate potential interest. We discussed possibilities for urban Native language education and the possible problems that may arise in such efforts. I asked similar questions when talking with individuals from educational institutions. I met with Dr. Richard Vedan, PhD, RSW, then the director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning; Mark Hall, cultural coordinator at the Native Education College; and Gayle Buchanan, a First Nations curriculum consultant for the  15  To prepare for each interview, I sent a list of questions, to serve as a guideline throughout our conversation, as well as the consent form for my research for the research participant to read prior to our meeting. At the start of each meeting, I gave a brief explanation of my project and asked if the research participant had any questions. 16 Ms. Young requested the use of a pseudonym for herself and her organization. 17 ‘Kwakwaka’wakw Man’ is his preferred pseudonym and he requested that I not name his dance group.  10  Vancouver School Board.18 I specifically addressed issues facing urban Aboriginal people in terms of educational opportunities and general demographics of Aboriginal learners in Vancouver. Finally, I interviewed five experts on Aboriginal education, culture, and language revitalization: Dr. Henry Davis, linguist, St'át'imc Language Educator, and Downtown Eastside advocate; Dr. Suzanne Gessner, also a linguist working on language revitalization with Dakelh speakers, and then acting director of the UBC First Nations Languages Program; Dr. Jo-Ann Archibald, acting Director of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program at UBC; Deanna Daniels/Kway’Waat (hereafter referred to as Kway’Waat), Language Programs Coordinator at the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council; and Chief Ian Campbell/Xálek’/Sekyú Siyám (hereafter referred to as Xálek’), a hereditary chief in the Squamish Nation and cultural ambassador and negotiator for his Nation. These people shared their perspectives on my research questions from their unique vantage points. These sixteen individuals, and several others with whom I spoke informally, lay the foundation for how I came to think about the potentiality of Native language learning and use in Vancouver. They brought distinct ideas for how to address my research questions. As a non-Aboriginal person and non-Canadian, I relied upon these individuals, who had a much more intimate understanding of the issues my research hoped to address than I possessed. After the interviews were complete, I transcribed each interview and shared a copy of the transcript with each research participant for their review and corrections. I compiled the transcripts and read carefully through them, looking for emerging themes, and conflicts and syntheses of opinions. I then sent a brief description of my main points to the research participants, requesting their feedback and suggestions.  THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: LANGUAGE IDEOLOGIES Research participants commented on the relationships between Aboriginal languages and culture, identity, and land. Such connections reflect ideas about the social significance of language. Linguistic anthropologists and other scholars have increasingly recognized the sociocultural implications of language and examined its social functions, augmenting a former concentration on linguistic microanalysis (Kroskrity 2000). The study of “language ideology” has emerged as a “mediating link between social structures and forms of talk” (Woolard and Schieffelin 1994:55). Judith Irvine (cited in Kroskrity 2000:5) defines language ideology as a “cultural system of ideas about social and  18  Ms. Buchanan requested the use of a pseudonym for herself and her organization.  11  linguistic relationships, together with their loading of moral and political interests.” Language ideology thus refers to the social connections people make with their own or others’ languages, dialects, or language variations.19 In exploring potential interest in Aboriginal language learning and use in Vancouver, this research touched upon some emerging language ideologies held by research participants about the role of native languages in an urban context and the different social processes that have affected Aboriginal peoples’ lives and, by extension, their languages. Processes of language shift, loss, and revitalization are closely tied to “sociohistorical circumstances and relationships of power” which have influenced communities’ language ideologies (Wyman 2004:2). Kathryn A. Woolard and Bambi B. Schieffelin (1994:55-56) state that language ideologies “envision and enact links of language to group and personal identity, to aesthetics, to morality, and to epistemology. Inequality among groups of speakers, and colonial encounters par excellence, throw language ideology into high relief.” In interviews expressions of language ideologies emerged and I considered the ways that language attitudes are constructed.  Constructing and Contesting Language Ideologies Paul V. Kroskrity (1998; 2001) and Charles L. Briggs (1998) have each written about the construction of language ideologies, exploring how dominant language ideologies are created, sustained, and contested by members of speech communities. Kroskrity has conducted long-term fieldwork with the Arizona Tewa, who maintain a strong connection with their ancestral language despite unique language contact experiences with Spanish colonizers and neighbouring Hopi people. He argues that ritualized Tewa kiva speech (“speech performed in religious chambers when sacred ceremonial altars are erected” [1998:105]) forms the basis of the dominant language ideology of the Arizona Tewa; the rubric of kiva speech has been naturalized by community members as a “‘prestige model’ for everyday verbal conduct” (1998:117). He contends that this is a shared dominant language ideology within the speech community. Briggs (1998) questions the possibility of a widely shared dominant language ideology, arguing instead that language ideologies are always contested and negotiated. He contrasts Warao women’s wailing and language used in a ‘gossip session’ between two powerful Warao men to highlight that ways of using language are differentiated based on gender, power, and other social factors. As opposed to using Briggs’s method, in which he analyzes speech events as an outside observer, Kroskrity relies on elements of language ideologies articulated in the ‘discursive consciousness’ of Arizona Tewa speakers. Drawing on the work of Briggs and Kroskrity, Patrick Moore and Kate Hennessy (2006) highlight contested language ideologies expressed by those involved with the 19 This paper will focus more on the social aspects of language ideology, with no concentration on microprocesses of language and how they are affected by speakers’ ideologies. This points to the fact that language ideology emerges from the discipline of linguistic anthropology. While heavily influenced by linguistics and its subject matter, students of language ideology and linguistic anthropology more generally have emphasized the human side of language alongside or in place of microanalysis.  12  construction of the Tagish FirstVoices website, demonstrating how language ideologies factor into the representation of the Tagish culture and language on the website and pointing to the positive effects of community control over language resources. Kroskrity, Briggs, and Moore and Hennessy highlight different methods for delineating language ideologies. Their works also show the diversity of social events and processes that can influence the construction and expression of individual and community language ideologies. The growing literature on language ideologies reveals the rich possibilities for analyzing how people think about language and the ways their thoughts are expressed explicitly and through language use. Identifying the ways language ideologies are constructed, maintained, and contested can meaningfully inform strategies for language documentation, planning, revitalization, and education in contexts of language loss. In this analysis, I locate trends found throughout the interviews I conducted to highlight some areas where similar ideological perspectives were shared by research participants. This is not to suggest there is a consistent ‘dominant language ideology’ emerging, nor to gloss over contestation, but to instead point out possible syntheses of ideas that may be useful to consider if language revitalization efforts in the city commence, develop, and continue. Addressing new and emerging trends in such contexts has particular salience, as “ideological clarification” can help to avoid wasting human and material resources on ineffective revitalization projects and to instead channel energy in new and innovative ways (Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer 1998; see also Bradley 2002). According to John Myhill (1999:34), “The fate of many minority languages is likely to be determined to a large extent by ideology – the ideology of people associated with minority languages and the ideology of those associated with mainstream ones.” For this research, exploring Aboriginal language ideologies in the under-studied urban context can therefore have fruitful and productive applications.  Historical Events and Processes and Dominant Language Ideologies Contemporary Aboriginal language ideologies evolve out of historical experiences. Historical events and processes devalued Aboriginal languages, sustaining an ideology that marginalized Aboriginal peoples and their languages. The dominant ideology that deemed Aboriginal peoples and their languages to be inferior to European language speakers was held by governmental officials and members of mainstream society in Canada; these attitudes persist today. This ideological framework can be traced to the early settler idea that Europeans brought better technologies, better forms of governance, and better and more civilized languages with them to the New World. Aboriginal languages are often unknown and unappreciated by members of mainstream society. Despite our national sensitivities to multilingualism, … most people – including many of the most highly educated and politically influential – are largely ignorant of the sheer diversity, the complexity,  13  the cognitive and cultural richness of the native languages of the First Nations peoples… In not according recognition, let alone respect, to the distinctive linguistic and cultural identities that have shaped First Nations peoples, the majority culture continues to exert a significantly negative influence on identity, on self-esteem, on pride in one’s cultural heritage, and on one’s sense of self and of place in the broader society. (Shaw 2001:45-46).  The deeply entrenched policies, actions, and attitudes that perpetuate a dominant language ideology of English as a powerful lingua franca of the world and Aboriginal languages as outmoded have affected Aboriginal people and communities in a myriad of ways. Residential school policy had a particularly devastating effect on Aboriginal peoples’ valuation and appreciation of their native languages. Federally funded and church run, residential schools were modeled on boarding schools developed in the United States to remove Native children from the ‘heathen’ influence of their parents and to educate them in the ways of the white man in hopes that the Native race would ultimately be assimilated. In the 1980’s, some residential survivors began sharing stories of abuses they endured while attending the schools (Grant 1996; Llewellyn 2002).20 There were numerous accounts from residential school survivors of particularly severe punishments meted out for those who spoke in their Native language (cf. Grant 1996:189, 196). Ms. Webster discussed her grandfather’s experience with residential schools: “My grandpa knew his language. He knew two dialects. But the residential school said, ‘Your language is ugly. You are ugly. If you say it, I’m going to beat you…’ So he said [as an adult], ‘I’m not going to teach my daughter because I don’t want her to get that.’” Dr. Vedan also talked about the legacy of residential schooling, recounting the experience of his father, who was punished for speaking Shuswap in residential school. Years later, Dr. Vedan only heard his father speak his language with his brother or cousin in private. “It’s human nature that when a young child sees people… doing things in a surreptitious manner – secretively, you get the idea, ‘Well, this must be bad. If you can’t do it in open public, there must be something wrong.’ … In terms of self identity, it becomes self internal oppression – it becomes internalized, and that gets passed on over generation to generation.” Some residential schools remained open through the 1980’s.21 During this time, other processes were at work to remove Aboriginal children from their parents and place them in the care of non-Native parents. Widely known as the ‘Sixties Scoop’, Aboriginal children were placed under the jurisdiction of Child Welfare Services, often ending up in a string of foster homes or permanently in the homes of non-Native adoptive parents (Armitage 2005). One research participant, Mr. Morin, was in fifteen foster homes between the ages of one and four years old and was separated from his twin brother for many years. “The government’s been in my life ever since I was a year old… you’ve just got to think of what the government and system did to all those children, native children, Métis 20  Dr. Davis noted that even those who did not experience abuse often suffered loneliness, malnutrition, and poor living conditions. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology for the residential school program on June 11, 2008, and a federal compensation package has been implemented for residential school survivors. Despite these gestures, the residential school system will continue to exert its painful legacy for many survivors and their families. 21  14  children, non-Status children.”22 This represented yet another break in cultural and linguistic transmission and therefore reinforced the dominant language ideology. The residential school system and the Sixties Scoop, though resisted by many Aboriginal people, are examples of methods used by the government to further an agenda of suppression of Aboriginal lifeways. The effects of these efforts left a lasting legacy in Native families and communities through the ‘internal oppression’ of individuals like Ms. Webster’s grandfather, Dr. Vedan’s father, and Mr. Morin. A tipping point in the accumulative government attempts to eradicate Aboriginality occurred in 1969 with the publication of the ‘White Paper’. This policy paper sought to eliminate the Indian Act altogether and with it the political designation of ‘Indian’. In an attempt to address the societal inequalities between Native people and nonNatives, treaties, the reserve system, and the Ministry of Indian Affairs and Northern Development were to be abolished. Many Aboriginal people were outraged by the White Paper’s disregard of their colonized histories and federal responsibilities to them. The National Indian Brotherhood (now known as the Assembly of First Nations), put forward a rebuttal called “Citizens Plus” and commonly known as the Red Paper, admonishing the government for reneging on treaty obligations and federal fiduciary responsibilities.23 Dr. Vedan explained that the White and Red Papers served as “a lightning rod that unified [Native] people within the province and across the country.” The bold reaction to the White Paper and the policies it proposed ushered in a new era of assertion of Aboriginal rights and political engagement.24 Political recognition of Aboriginal rights, a key part of this ongoing struggle, came when the Constitution was repatriated to Canada and the Constitution Act of 1982 was enacted. The Canadian Charter of Rights, section 35 states, “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.”25 These incremental steps have great significance for Native peoples in Canada.26 These processes have had wide-ranging effects on First Nations language valuation and use. Policies that served to further an assimilationist agenda greatly damaged Native language transmission and devalued Aboriginal languages. As Aboriginal peoples increasingly voice their concerns and seek redress, however, language becomes symbolic of reclamation and pride of Native identity. Language revival is therefore sometimes associated with  22  Aboriginal children are still over-represented in Child and Family Services care. Xálek’ asked, “If today the reality is fifty percent of the kids in care are Aboriginal – what happens to them?” This question demonstrates that policies today are continuing to exert negative influence on the lives of Aboriginal people. 23 The term ‘Citizens Plus’ was borrowed from Alan Cairns. The Red Paper was penned by Harold Cardinal, leader of the Indian Association of Alberta. 24 One year after the Red Paper, in 1972, the National Indian Brotherhood issued a paper entitled ‘Indian Control of Indian Education’, calling on the government to allow for full participation of Native people in decisions regarding Aboriginal education. A campaign for self determination in education has been underway since this declaration. 25 Section 35 also states, “‘aboriginal peoples of Canada’ includes the Indian, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada.” 26 The Red Paper, ‘Indian Control of Indian Education’, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 35 are particularly supportive of Status Indian rights. Non-Status Indians have expressed concern that their issues are not acknowledged.  15  decolonization.27 Language revitalization efforts have thus begun in communities across Canada, inspired by international examples including projects of the Navajo, Native Hawaiians, and the Maori of New Zealand. Language revitalization happens alongside land claims efforts and other political issues, sometimes competing for priority, sometimes reinforcing other pursuits. Though the power of English and its utility in the world is acknowledged by individuals and communities, teaching Native languages signals their importance and value.28  Language-and-Identity and Language-and-Territory Ideologies In addition to historical and political influences on language ideology, sense of place and notions of authenticity and identity shape language ideologies. An ideological construction that explicitly brings together land and language has been deemed the language-and-territory ideology by Myhill (1999). He defines language-and-territory as an ideology that “emphasizes a connection such that in each territory a particular language should be the one generally used in public circumstances and intergroup communication, while other languages should be reserved for private interaction.” He compares this type of ideology with the language-and-identity ideology [also called ‘principle of personality’], which he defines as one that “emphasizes inherent emotional and spiritual connection between a person and his/her native language (or in some cases the language of his/her immediate ancestors)” (1999:34). While Myhill argues that these types of language ideologies are at odds with one another in the context of language rights debates, I find that elements of both ideological constructions can work together to create strong expressions of individual and community connections with language by those striving for language revitalization, particularly in areas severely affected by Indigenous language loss. I will discuss the relationships between Aboriginal languages and identity and between language and land before demonstrating what both ideological constructions bring to bear on urban language education efforts.  Aboriginal Language and Identity Both in the interviews conducted for this research and in language revitalization literature, speakers of Aboriginal languages express the meaningful connection between their language and their identity. Kwakwaka’wakw Man demonstrated the link between language and his nation’s identity as a people: “Language is a gift from our Creator – we have to do what we can to preserve it, keep it alive. Otherwise the spirit of our songs, our ceremonies, our lives won’t have true meaning as was gifted to us… It’s got to be kept alive or we die virtually as Kwakwaka’wakw.”  27 Ms. Webster agrees: “I wish I could think in my language. That’s my one wish… It’s all about decolonizing or unlearning. Because we have it in our blood, in our minds, in our spirits, in our hearts – it’s still there.” 28 Hill (2002) reminds us that the term ‘value’ signifies an economic worth and/or commodification. Appreciation of Aboriginal languages often falls under a different concept of value and may take on new meaning.  16  According to Ms. Young, knowing one’s Aboriginal language gives an individual a framework for how to behave. While knowing her Aboriginal language gives her “grounding”, Ms. Young believes that her second language, English, is not connected to her identity. It’s just in my head, it doesn’t have a deep connection for me… I can learn Spanish or French but it wouldn’t affect my identity as an Aboriginal person. Whereas if you’re French and you’re learning French, it strengthens your identity… It’s really intended to either strengthen identity for that individual who’s Coast Salish, for example, or if you’re wanting to learn more about that particular culture and that’s the way in which you can enrich your appreciation of that culture. (Young)  Because of the history of assimilation tactics employed by the government to eradicate Aboriginal languages, the link between language and identity has been broken for many individuals.29 One may identify (or be identified) as Aboriginal without knowing an Aboriginal language. As Aboriginal languages become symbols of wider efforts of decolonization and Aboriginal cultural revitalization, not knowing one’s Aboriginal language can have negative effects on an individual’s sense of identity, leading to feelings of shame and anger.30 Ms. Laframboise pointed out the trouble with equating Aboriginal language with Aboriginal identity and culture: “The elders say if you have your language, you own your culture. So does that mean that all the native people who don’t speak their language don’t own the culture? Does it mean that they’re less cultural?” The context of language dispossession for Aboriginal languages provides an interesting counterpoint to this sometimes problematic correlation between language and culture. Dr. Vedan eloquently described his experience identifying as a Shuswap man without knowing his language, a direct result of residential school policies: I was vulnerable to people saying, ‘Well, you can’t call yourself real Shuswap because you don’t speak your language.’ And I wrestled with that for a long time. And then I thought… well I’m not going to let people hold me responsible for my father’s oppression [residential school]. I regret that I wasn’t raised [with the language]. I was angry with my father for a long time until I understood his reasons – and they were very legitimate reasons… really the only choice he had was to protect his children from being exposed to the abuse and harm he had. (Vedan)  As Dr. Vedan’s experience demonstrates, some associate Aboriginal language with identity, pride, and efforts toward decolonization; others, particularly those who directly experienced racism because of speaking their Native language, associate Aboriginal language with shame and pain (see Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer (1998:63-67)). Xálek’ believes the legacy of the shame-inducing policies of residential schools and wider issues of racism has shifted: “I think the shame today is around not being able to speak the language. People feel deep hurt that they’ve been denied that opportunity for so many external factors.” While Ms. Webster thinks young people are  29 Mixed heritage (different Aboriginal backgrounds as well as Native/non-Native) resulting from processes of colonialism and increased contact with other groups also complicates the connections people make with their language(s) and Aboriginal heritage (Lawrence 2004). 30 See Hallett, Chandler, and Lalonde (2007) for a compelling argument about the correlation between lack of access to Native language and youth suicide rates.  17  “bringing back the pride,” she also acknowledged that the painful past of Aboriginal peoples remains.31 She explained, “It’s in our bones, still… we still have that memory of residential school, and that is why our young people are not succeeding… We come from our grandmothers, we come from our grandfathers. We still feel that trauma – you don’t belong.” Ms. Young’s nuanced perspective on the links between language and cultural identity above help to demonstrate that the connection one makes between language and culture is ultimately a personal one, although heavily influenced by other community members. Dr. Archibald contended, “I think you can certainly have a good appreciation of indigenous culture and knowledge without knowing the language, although… certainly knowing the language gives more in-depth [understanding] to culture and to indigenous knowledge. So those who are fluent speakers talk about the richness and the value of the language, and it is an important part of identity.” In the context of language loss and revitalization, language and culture have meaningful connections that can be called upon to strengthen the cause for language revival, but for those whose ties to language have been cut, explicitly linking language and authentic Aboriginal identity can be troubling and hurtful. Indeed, research participants stressed other facets of Aboriginal language ideologies specific to sense of place that had particular importance to them, sometimes directly connecting identity and place or place and language more explicitly than linking identity and language.  Connections between Land and Language Many Aboriginal people emphasize the close connection between languages and land (Shaw 2001; Wilson and Peters 2005:400). The languages of British Columbia developed over time in specific environments and their vocabularies often heavily reflect the activities conducted on the land, particularly relating to the natural environment. Xálek’ stated, “I strongly encourage our people to keep getting out on the land because that’s where it makes sense, that’s where our language is directly manifested from our connections to our lands and territory.” He also expressed an even more literal interpretation of the effect of land on language, noting that the sounds of the language emulate the landscape: In all my travels, I hear people speak in different languages. I’m thinking of our inflections now – the guttural [sounds], the harshness of our language… I realized that it’s the shape of our land. When the winds hit our mountains and they come over, they drop into the valleys, they kind of move around through the forest. That’s kind of the structure of the language – it has a lot of sharp inflections like that… Again, we adapt to our environment. Our language mimics that. (Xálek’)  31  See McCarty et al (2006a; 2006b) for other youth responses to language loss and revitalization.  18  Ms. Webster, of Bella Coola and Six Nations descent, echoed this same sentiment while also explaining the ramifications of disruptions of the land-language connection. Our bodies are made a certain way so you could speak your language… If you look at different languages, languages are what the land looks like – the mountains [makes hard consonant sounds from the back of the mouth] – or if you go back to the east, it’s more drawn out… because they live on the Plains. So it’s according to what your environment is. If you’re not in that environment, you’re displaced. Cut. That’s why the language isn’t happening, because we’re not feeling that… We can’t feel our Mother, we can’t feel our language. (Webster)  Mary Jane Norris (1998:39) also connects land and language, noting that geography influenced the evolution of languages and dialects in Canada: “Geography is an important contributor to the diversity, size and distribution of Aboriginal languages across Canada’s regions…. the diversity of languages in B.C., most of them small in population, is likely the outcome of the province’s mountainous geography, which would impose physical barriers to communication.” Dr. Davis, after working with the St'át'imc for over a decade, stated that he is just beginning to understand the strong connection people make between land and language. “It’s important what’s named. You can’t destroy something if you have a name for it without some sense of responsibility for what you’ve done… That’s why these languages are important because they’re small in a sense.” He also stresses the ties between Aboriginal languages and their specific local histories. “Each community has its own history, and up until the end of the Second World War, it was largely in their own language. Just the same as our literature, it’s their literature.” Dr. Davis reiterates Ms. Webster’s reflections on the displacement of language from its originating landscape, particularly commenting on the urban context. “If you talk to anybody on the reserve[s], the chiefs will stand up and say two things that are the utmost importance – language and land. So what happens to urban Aboriginals?” Kwakwaka’wakw Man commented on his experience growing up hearing Kwak’wala as a child and moving to Vancouver to continue schooling. Being alienated from both his homeland and his father’s language at the same time was deeply distressing and he experienced great culture shock. Ms. Small lived in the city for many years before going home to her Nisga’a homelands to learn her language. Since moving back to the city, she sometimes returns home to strengthen her knowledge of her language. While she contests the idea that you have to be on the land to learn or speak the language, she appreciates the value of the link between land and language. “There is a different quality in learning the language and the culture on the homeland versus the urban setting, in my personal opinion… It is connected to the land base, but you don’t have to be on the land, but you can go home to nourish it.”  19  Personal connections made between language and identity, land and language, and identity and land triangulate as influencing forces on emerging urban language ideologies. Though these connections are sometimes stretched or severed as a result of movement between homelands and the city or permanent settlement in the city, the urban environment does not in and of itself break ties with language, land, and identity. People make accommodations and adapt their links with their Aboriginality in creative ways. Research participants noted challenges and hurdles of urban language revitalization, but none considered learning Aboriginal languages in the city an impossibility. Instead, my initial research question concerning potential interest in Native language learning in the city was met with a resounding reply that, yes, Aboriginal languages can and should have a place in the city, especially from Aboriginal research participants. ‘Placing language’ then became the analytical framework I used to bring together language-and-identity and language-and-territory ideological constructions as a way of examining the possibilities for urban language revitalization.  ANALYSIS Metro Vancouver is situated on the traditional lands of the Musqueam and Squamish peoples. North Vancouver is the traditional homeland of the Tsleil-Waututh, and the Katzie, Kwantlen, Sto:lo, and Tsawwassen are also recognized as local First Nations. These groups are often placed under the umbrella term ‘Coast Salish’ and Vancouver is considered to rest on ‘Coast Salish territory.’32 Prior to contact, the area was rich in natural resources. The Fraser River, a central feature of the landscape, cuts across the region and was a storehouse for salmon and other marine life. English Bay and Burrard Inlet connected lands with the Georgia Straits and also offered a plethora of foodstuffs and materials for tools and other items of importance.33 Land mammals, including mountain goats, elk, and bear, roamed the mountains and low-lying areas, and many different types of birds flew overhead. The local peoples were highly skilled at navigating the environment and using its abundant resources. Xálek’ speaks of the professions his Squamish and Musqueam ancestors had – mountain goat hunting, canoe building, toolmaking, harvesting resources for sustenance. As a participant in Vancouver’s Storyscapes project, he discussed Aboriginal inhabitance in the part of Vancouver known as Chinatown today: “Basically [that] was our supermarket. It’s where we went for a lot of resources and food gathering. The land was a land of bounty… It’s very important to recognize that the land that was established is built upon our backs” (2006). In our interview, he stated, “Our territory is fairly  32  Mr. Hall contests the category ‘Coast Salish’, pointing to distinct groups that currently fall under this label. It is preferred to recognize each group individually than to use the ‘Coast Salish’ marker. Note the English place names listed in this section. There are, of course, indigenous place names for the landscape features discussed, often reflecting more detailed and nuanced interpretations of the land and waterways. 33  20  vast. There’s tons of history through our place names and mythology. I love to go out of the city and onto the land. Even around the city, there’s so much history in and around the city.” Both the Musqueam and Squamish have urban reserves while their traditional lands extend beyond city lines to include waterways and other features of the landscape. The Musqueam Indian Band Reserve is located in south-western Vancouver, along the Fraser River. Their language, Həф?əmiфəτ, has no fully fluent speakers remaining, though there are some semi-fluent adults and efforts are underway to restore and revitalize the language. The Squamish Nation Reserve is in North Vancouver along the northern banks of the Burrard Inlet. Their language, Skwxwú7mesh Snichim, has some fluent adult speakers. The Squamish people are also working toward language revival; a language immersion program has been developed and is operating in their territory.34 Xálek’ is one of the few young people who can speak the language; he was raised by his fluent grandparents. Mr. Hall was raised by great-grandparents so he also knows the language. Both expressed gratitude for having had experience with their language as well as deep concern for the state of their language today. The local First Nations have been recognized as hosts of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, emphasizing their ties to their lands and their symbolic status as hosts to the many immigrants who have settled in Vancouver over the past century (see Blomley 2003; McDonald 1996) and the multitude of visitors who will arrive for the Olympics. In addition to the influx of individuals and families from all over the world, non-local Aboriginal people have also made their way to Vancouver for temporary, long-term, or permanent settlement. For example, though the Cree language is not a B.C. language, there are large numbers of Cree people in Canada and they are heavily represented in Vancouver as well. According to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), there are over 35 First Nations represented in Vancouver. Mr. Hall points out that Inuit and Métis individuals have also moved to Vancouver, shifting the emphasis from First Nations alone. There is also a significant and growing population of urban Aboriginal people who identify as being Aboriginal (or are identified by others as being Aboriginal) and were raised solely in an urban setting. Although they may identify with a particular Native heritage, their whole experience with Aboriginal identity is mediated through city life. Mr. Morris remarked that many individuals who attend his Longhouse Church “continue to be who they are – in effect, First Nations by blood but very much mixed in terms of their socialization and culturalization. Still, not wanting to disown their First Nations or Native status or identity, but… they’re very much urban mainstream, part of the urban majority if there is such a term.” Due to Aboriginal  34  The scope of this research did not allow for in-depth research into the language initiatives on the reserves of the local First Nations. I have included information here to highlight that work is being done within their communities.  21  organizations and programming offered in the city, an urban-raised individual can still have access to culturally appropriate services and education as well as cultural events involving other Aboriginal people.35 Ms. Small characterizes three groups of Aboriginal people: 1) those born and raised in traditional environments, immersed in Aboriginal culture and ways of knowing; 2) those born in urban environment with no access to traditional lifeways; and 3) those who live in both worlds – the traditional and the urban – “very comfortably.” These different groups have different cultural backgrounds and needs.36 There is great diversity of Aboriginal people living on traditional Coast Salish homelands. A wide range of experiences exists among the population designated as ‘urban Aboriginal’ which means that newly developing policies affecting Native people living in the city must take these experiences into account. The implications of this diversity for Aboriginal language revitalization in the city are somewhat daunting. How can issues of language revitalization be addressed when there are so many languages and heritages represented? How can different initiatives reach the desired subset of the Aboriginal population? What happens to the urban-raised and mixedheritage urban Aboriginal populations if emphasis is placed on specific languages? In some ways, the city represents new terrain for Aboriginal languages, which are often closely associated with traditional lands. The linguistic diversity of British Columbia and western Canada, coupled with the diverse urban Aboriginal experiences in Vancouver, contributes to innovative and reordered ideas about the social significance of Aboriginal languages and their roles in people’s lives and identity formation processes. The city thus becomes a new ‘site’ for language ideologies. As I will argue, language ideologies in the diverse context of the city follow along lines of protocol and respect, offering a starting place for thinking about possible inroads to the city for language revitalization efforts.  Placing Language – Emphasis on the Local As mentioned, Dr. Davis questioned how the connection between Aboriginal lands and languages is disrupted or broken in an urban context. Though the land beneath and surrounding Vancouver once had abundant natural resources utilized heavily by the local peoples, the city today somewhat dominates the landscape as does its colonial history. Tall cement buildings join the mountains in the skyline of the city; public beaches are located on traditional food gathering spots; most Aboriginal place names have been supplanted with English names. At the same time, the local First Nations have not been completely displaced. Their traditional homelands have been zoned as city  35  Though access to Native culture exists, some individuals do not know enough about their Aboriginal heritage to seek services specifically appropriate to their background and may opt for more general Aboriginal structures. The people I interviewed who worked in service institutions in the city recognized that this poses a dilemma for some and each had different approaches to ensuring an inclusive atmosphere. 36 Dr. Davis discussed a specific subset of the urban-raised demographic – Aboriginal children, often with mixed-Native heritage, raised in the city by foster parents. Their lack of access to their diverse Aboriginal heritages can become problematic when they are identified at school and in other domains as Native but are unable to identify with specific Nations and their cultural traditions.  22  property, built upon and reworked, but there remain two reserves in the area deemed ‘Metro Vancouver’ – Musqueam and Squamish – and their land claims cover the region. Though the current geography – natural and human-made – certainly reflects the colonial settlement of south-western British Columbia, the indigenous inhabitants of the land have not disappeared. Their populations are in fact growing and becoming more visible on their homelands than they have been in the recent past. Though changed, the links between land and language for the local nations therefore can and do still exist. The aforementioned comments of Xálek’, a hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation, indicates that a resilient connection between land and language carries on. The ties between land and language manifested at the local level were heavily emphasized by research participants when suggesting possibilities for language education in the city. Once research participants indicated that interest in learning Native languages is strong, the reality of the diversity of First Nations living in Vancouver, including urban-raised individuals as well as people moving back and forth between homelands and the city, begged the question of how to address a multitude of language needs. The emerging ideological perspective was that attending to the revitalizing of local languages ought to be the first step, particularly for public use of language. Acknowledging the local peoples and their languages is key to following protocol. Mr. Morin explains, “Understanding cultural protocol of each territory is very important. The demographics of each environment define our relations to each other.” At Ms. Young’s institution, the staff “tries to respect the diversity and use those practices that are across all those cultures, but we acknowledge that we’re on Coast Salish territory. It’s really important for us to bring in those cultural advisors, cultural experts, of this area.” The Native Education College explicitly chooses to follow local protocol and has a cultural advisory council for inquiries about proper behaviour and ceremonies.37 According to Mr. Hall: We have such a diverse range of cultural backgrounds of Aboriginal students from BC and other provinces. Everyone respects the ways, traditions ceremonies… to avoid confusion, for ceremonies we follow the Nations of this territory…. We found that it made things smoother when we indicated that we are following the protocols for this territory…. People seem to appreciate that we’re following those protocols rather than having a lot of different sort of styles. (Hall)  Xálek’ appreciates the acknowledgement of the local nations by other First Nations visiting or living in the area: “There’s a lot of recognition of our territory. We’re very grateful that many of the First Nations from across the country when they come here always recognize the Coast Salish people… That’s our laws, our protocols.” Indeed, Aboriginal people I interviewed who hailed from other cultural backgrounds than Musqueam, Squamish, or any of the local First Nations, expressed that they recognize and honour that they are on Coast Salish territory and they respect their languages and efforts to revitalize them. Thus, despite the great diversity of nations represented in 37  The cultural advisory council has representatives from the Squamish, Musqueam, Tsawwassen, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.  23  Vancouver, the acknowledged strong connections between land, language and culture were emphasized by prioritizing local lands and languages. “It’s a challenge once you move into a city where there is diversity. But I think the rule is – it comes back to protocol… You teach the language that’s specific to that territory, in each locale, and that’s where you should start,” Ms. Young asserts.38 Lobo (2001b:73) asks, “Is urban a person or a place?” She answers, “Urban is a place, a setting where many Indian people at some time in their lives visit, ‘establish an encampment,’ or settle into. Urban doesn’t determine self-identity, yet the urban area and the urban experiences are contexts that contribute to defining identity.” Looking at the city as both a place that Aboriginal people visit or ‘settle into’ and one where local Aboriginal identity is grounded enables a more complex interpretation of the experiences people in the city have with Native languages. Aboriginal languages can also have a place and Myhill’s perspectives on the two language ideological constructions (language-as-territory and language-as-identity) have relevance. As the research participants quoted above make clear, the Aboriginal land where Vancouver sits should be acknowledged by first honouring the Aboriginal language connected with it. This does not mean that there is an expectation for people to stop speaking English and speak Həф?əmiфəτ or Skwxwú7mesh Snichim. Meanwhile, the language-and-identity perspective can find meaningful support within the portion of the urban Aboriginal population who have moved to the city from other territories, bringing their language or their desire to learn it along with them and emphasizing the link between their identity and their language. No one suggested that non-Coast Salish people interested in their heritage language should not have the opportunity to learn their language. The research participants instead recommend honouring the local languages as a starting point within the context of Aboriginal language revitalization in the city. Features of both the language-and-identity and language-and-territory ideologies therefore apply to the urban Aboriginal situation. Appreciating that Aboriginal languages are linked to land but also have personal meaning for identity is critical. Linking language and land, and localizing this connection – or ‘placing language’ – can be empowering for both local First Nations and those who have moved from other places and acknowledge the connection between their language and the land where it originated. For urban-raised individuals with tenuous ties to their Aboriginal languages or cultures, emphasizing and honouring the local peoples and their languages can perhaps ease their feelings of disconnectedness, locating them as Aboriginally-identified peoples on specific First Nations’ territories.  38 Ms. Young also pointed out that more interest in the local languages might be inspired by active language revival efforts among the local population.  24  The emergence of new ideas about language and the city, with the emphasis on the local stemming from the linkage between land and language, represents innovative and creative ways of dealing with diversity in the city. This ideology is a response to a relatively new phenomenon – First Nations living in cities – that calls upon a much older, more traditional perspective – following protocol. Honouring the local people and their languages – placing language – is the first step in language revitalization efforts in the city.  Recommendations: Making Places for Language While placing Aboriginal languages is important, making a place for these languages is critical for successful language efforts. In this sense, by ‘place’ I do not necessarily mean a physical space, though that may be an important aspect of language learning for some. Instead, I mean a delineated place in an individual’s life where he or she can learn, speak, hear or use Aboriginal language. There are two different, but conjoined, parts of making a place for language in the city: ideological and practical. Making a place for language ideologically means identifying, recognizing, and honouring what is offered in the potential inclusion of Native languages in the lives of Aboriginal peoples (i.e. identity development, pride, community) and making room to accommodate Native languages. Practical ‘places for’ refers to possible options for language learning and use conducive to an urban environment. Without a designated place, ideologically or practically, Aboriginal and minority languages can be absorbed in the dominant language and society and left with no room for growth. Making a place for language has to be a conscious decision and process as other priorities and mindsets can easily distract individuals from this effort.  An Ideological Place for Language According to Dr. Davis, “For us who are trying to find a way that the language can fit into the contemporary First Nations world – a lot of what we’re trying to do is try to find a place or places where it can be used. And that isn’t at all easy.” Aboriginal languages developed in close proximity with land and environment, creating and sustaining a rich vocabulary linked to processes for living on the land. These languages and their speakers began experiencing heavy pressure from governmental policies that instilled an ideal that Native languages had no place on the road to ‘progress’ in a modern world engulfed in a sea of change. As a result, English became the language that Aboriginal people needed to get and keep jobs, get through school, alleviate racism, and communicate with the mass of people converging on their lands. Aboriginal languages were dispossessed of their primary place in the worlds of their speakers. In order to restore a place for Native languages in the lives of Aboriginal people, this history has to be recognized and complex questions about the value of Native languages in peoples’ lives today have to be addressed. Already many people have found ways of incorporating traditional beliefs, lifeways, and protocols into 25  contemporary life. Finding meaningful ways of including Aboriginal heritage into city life can extend to making a place for Aboriginal languages. This has to be a conscious effort and one that will take planning to achieve. Before embarking on such an effort, it is important for potential learners and/or communities of possible speakers to undergo what Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer (1998) call ‘ideological clarification’. An essential component of ideological clarification includes assessing student motivation for Native language learning. Drawing on their research among the Tlingit in Southeast Alaska, the authors state: Assuming that we have motivated and well-trained teachers supplied with adequate and acceptable materials, we are still faced with the real and nagging question: why learn Tlingit? Other than a career as Tlingit teacher or materials developer, there are no economic benefits. Every year there are fewer people alive to speak it with. All of the speakers already know English better than a learner will ever master Tlingit. Tlingit is neither ‘practical’ nor ‘relevant’, so why bother? (Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer 1998:94).  If these questions are being asked in environments where there are higher proportions of potential speakers, where the land and language and people are still closely linked, what chances do Aboriginal languages have in an urban setting? In the end, according to the Dauenhauers, unlike learning Spanish or French, the ultimate motivation for learning Tlingit, Həф?əmiфəτ, or Sm’algyax, or any other Aboriginal language in a similar state, is spiritual. “We can offer no motivation other than satisfaction, that it feels good to learn Tlingit. Or – it could feel good…. [I]t is spiritual and psychological; learning the ancestral language gives peace, real identity, and intellectual pleasure. It also provides a vehicle to communicate with the past, with the generations of departed” (1998:94-95). In an urban setting, where one is making a place for culture, making a place for language can mean enriching one’s links with other people from the same nation or making a stronger connection to one’s Aboriginal heritage on a deeper personal level. Considering the ties made between land and language, making a place in one’s life for learning or using an Aboriginal language can enhance one’s bond with the homeland. Language learning is challenging, so the language learner will need personal commitment and drive. Recognizing that the ultimate motivation for Aboriginal language learning is spiritual and deeply personal, in the city or in the homelands, is a critical first step for those who seek to make a place for language. Also important is determining to what extent one is committed to using the language if learned. Learning enough to introduce oneself in the language may be the ultimate goal and the language can thus be used in public functions.39 Knowing particular songs in Native languages may be important for a member of a dance and singing group. If one gains fluency, however, actively seeking places to speak the language and people with whom to speak it is a critical part of making a place for language in the city. Speaking to one’s children in the language is  39  See section below entitled Events and Ceremonies  26  emphasized by language revitalization advocates who stress that intergenerational transmission as a first language is the only way to save endangered languages. Because most learners will only achieve second language competence, according to Dr. Gessner, “if [the parents] are not totally fluent themselves, often they don’t even want to share what little they know… Of course kids just soak up every little bit you give them – every little bit is great.” For those who wish to converse in their language, to speak with elders or other language learners, one challenge they may face is gaps in known vocabulary for contemporary activities or objects. Words for aspects of city life (traffic, apartment living, entertainment, the Internet, cellphones) are not always readily available in Native languages. Mr. Hall describes how his Nation – the Squamish – has had to channel efforts not only toward teaching and revitalizing the language, but also updating it: “Now the challenge is to come up with new words – it’s the same with the English language – a lot of new words are being created… a lot of people don’t know the language to begin with and then you put the challenge of a whole bunch of new words that have to be incorporated.” Furthermore, other words that Aboriginal languages do have in abundance – words specific to environment or local food procurement, for example – have little obvious use in the city. Xálek’ explains, “Huge parts of our language become obsolete because we stopped going to some areas and drying kelp or whatever it may be… We just lost tons of language because it becomes so obsolete.” He links this to dispossession of traditional territories, thereby linking language loss with other historical processes that had no overt linguistic assimilation purpose. For some First Nations, updating the vocabularies of their languages to reflect the everyday activities of their potential speakers may be a significant part of language revitalization efforts. According to Dr. Gessner, “If you want it to be a living, useable language, there’s going to have to be adaptation and new vocabulary and so on. Some languages do that easily, some languages not so much. And with some speakers, there’s a resistance to creating new vocabulary, too.” Though linguists highlight that languages change and evolve and have done so throughout human history, Dr. Gessner explained that it is ultimately the Aboriginal community’s decision whether or not to update their language and create new words. Both Dr. Gessner and Mr. Hall gave examples of creative new words in Dakelh (lipstick) and Squamish (cigarette) respectively that incorporate traditional words or ideas (namely ‘the thing with which we smear our lips’ and ‘smoke’). Because reserves are often still seen as nexuses for language revival efforts and the homes of fluent speakers, it may make sense for new words to come out of decisions made in these locales. Paying attention to the unique language needs of city-dwellers, however, may be a necessary element of this effort. Making a place for language ideologically means defining how Aboriginal language can fit into an urban Aboriginal person’s life. Despite the ‘lingering stereotype’ equating rural with tradition or authenticity, and urban 27  with assimilation, and the current policies that sustain it, Aboriginal individuals are striving to maintain cultural identity in unique ways in the urban setting. It is through these already existing avenues that Aboriginal language revitalization efforts can potentially make inroads into the city and urban Aboriginal people’s lives. Dr. Archibald states, “People do engage in their own cultural traditions and practices of various sorts, whether it’s spiritual, cultural… There are different feasts, different ways to engage with one another. I think Aboriginal culture is quite vibrant in the city – people may think it’s not but it sure is.” Xálek’ also stresses that Aboriginal cultural identity can flourish in urban spaces and emphasizes that it does require modification and adaptation: We can’t go back to the way it was. I can’t sustain myself economically the way my ancestors did, through our professions… it’s just not feasible. So it demands that I have to adapt or I succumb. It’s the same story of the flood. My land was flooded before glaciation. They could never go back to the way it was – we were traumatized, shaken up, many peoples were decimated… I look around me today and my land is flooded again – it’s the same story… I look at our mythology, it has many chapters and each one of those chapters there’s always a catalyst of change, where you can never go back to the way it was for your great-grandparents. You had to learn to draw forward those traditional knowledges, apply it in a modern context. (Xálek’)  In this compelling blend of traditional mythology and contemporary events, Xálek’ demonstrates cultural continuity in the face of great change, noting that adaptation is a part of the continuity. Ms. Buchanan agrees, “We’re not static, we’re carrying some of our traditional practices but we’re also expanding in other ways.” Dr. Vedan comments on his ongoing challenge of living in two worlds: Somebody says, ‘Well, it must be nice to have a foot in each culture. You’re bridging cultures.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s not so much as I have a foot in each culture. It’s like I have one foot in a really tippy canoe, and I have another foot in a really tippy canoe. And I’m in the river. And I’m having to reconstruct this canoe, and rebuild it in a Shuswap way, because all my education, formal education, was within mainstream institutions. So to redefine… reconstruct, and moving along – at the same time. (Vedan)  Finally, Kwakwaka’wakw Man, an active participant of an urban dance group with members of his cultural group living in the city, relates how his group builds their song and dance repertoire in traditional and innovative ways: We have people saying, ‘Oh, they never used to do it that way.’ Some people are stuck in the past, and I’m not saying that in a bad way. They only know what they’ve seen through ceremonies in the way the old people did it. Now there’s a resurgence of young people, like myself, who are doing as best as we can with what we’ve seen ourselves, what we’ve experienced, what we’ve witnessed. (Kwakwaka’wakw Man)  These individuals have incorporated elements of their traditional ways into their life in the city. This comes out in their stories and their teachings. When thinking of the association between tradition and rural, and assimilation and urban, these statements also give support to Lobo’s (2001b:76) argument that “While there are certainly differences in these two types of settings [urban/rural], establishing rural/urban as the defining characteristic of identity is not realistic from an Indian point of view.” Though the urban setting represents new terrain in many ways for Aboriginal languages and cultures, individuals have designated spaces for themselves throughout the city for cultural 28  expression. For example, the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Vancouver’s eastside has weekly Prairie Nights and West Coast Nights, along with many other cultural activities and events; the Native Education College operates in a longhouse and incorporates traditional singing and culturally appropriate protocols; the First Nations Longhouse at UBC has infused diverse Aboriginal teachings within its very architecture and artwork. Native languages can be included in these endeavours.  A Practical Place for Language While making a place for language ideologically provides the foundational components of Aboriginal language learning in the city, possibilities exist for actively making a place for language through activities, events, and daily interactions. Dr. Archibald states: When you look at the Maori, [language revitalization] didn’t happen until they had a… place, an expectation to learn it. So if you set it up in a community… they’re going to learn various phrases, or ways that you’re going to conduct part of the meeting in the language, or various languages. Just make it an everyday life of that… school [or] organization. And then even families themselves, once they start learning the language, [the parents] can start speaking it. (Archibald)  The remainder of this paper will be devoted to detailing different practical options for incorporating Native languages into the lives of urban Aboriginal individuals and groups. Focusing on action allows us to move beyond theoretical arguments for language revitalization toward putting theoretical insights into practice.  Aboriginal Language in Public Places For research participants, the emphasis on local languages stemmed from the land-language connection. As mentioned, no one suggested that all Aboriginal people should be required to learn the local languages while living on their land. Instead, the emphasis on local languages was predicated on public use of Native language. In this section, I will highlight possibilities for public Aboriginal language practice. Due to the potentially multilingual audiences in the public sphere, and the prevailing dominant language of English, all of these possibilities for making a place for language in the public setting are relatively limited and are geared more toward respecting, honouring, and valuing local Aboriginal languages. More personal approaches are often taken to reach goals of intergenerational transmission, conversational abilities, and active use of the language. I will therefore focus the public arena first before attending to issues of making other spaces for Aboriginal languages in the city.  Public Schools Ms Webster asserts, “My dream… that I want to manifest – are you ready tape recorder? Okay, this is the big thing that I want to change at a government level: keep French, but [have] it mandatory wherever you are in Canada, wherever the surrounding area, you need to learn that [local Aboriginal] language in school. There needs to be 29  acknowledgement of our people, this land we’re on.” Aboriginal languages are not central features of language curricula in public schools in Vancouver or most other Canadian cities or towns.40 Several research participants expressed a strong desire to see opportunities created in the public school system for learning Native languages or getting credit for learning them outside of the school system. For example, Ms. Young, who speaks Cree as her first language, tried to find a way for her son to get credit for Cree courses in high school. She states: In high schools, you can get credits for Mandarin and Cantonese. And there are other languages, of course. French is always a part of that. There should be [provisions] for Native languages in high school… If they were able to teach Coast Salish in high school, that would be great for anybody to take. It wouldn’t be so much a requirement for children to learn a native language, but an option for them, and for it to be respected, and celebrated, and validated by receiving credits for it. It would really go a long way for strengthening identity. (Young)  Ms. Young also notes that inclusion of Aboriginal languages in the public schools would be particularly important considering the fact that “there really isn’t an updated and current historical overview of Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations in Canada.” When I spoke with Ms. Buchanan, an educational consultant for the Vancouver School Board, she highlighted some of the challenges she faces in trying to incorporate Aboriginal teachings in classrooms in the city as well as some of the opportunities that currently exist for First Nations children and their teachers.41 Ms. Buchanan encourages integration of Aboriginal teachings as opposed to supplementation. She has worked to include First Nations teachings in different subject areas by developing a shared resource guide that she uses in professional development workshops with teachers.42 Several research participants emphasized the serious need for educational reform of Aboriginal curriculum materials and teacher education. Ms. Buchanan mentioned that some Native children have trouble fitting in, particularly during the transition from the supportive environment of primary classrooms to more independent secondary schools. Dr. Archibald noted that the majority of Aboriginal children attend public schools where most of their teachers and classmates are non-Aboriginal. Dr. Archibald and Ms. Buchanan agree that educating nonAboriginal teachers prior to their entrance into the public school system is key to developing more culturally inclusive classrooms, which would in turn cultivate positive educational experiences for First Nations children. The reforms called for by research participants reflect similar sentiments expressed by Battiste (2000). She argues that First Nations languages and cultural values can be holistically integrated into contemporary education in  40 See Hebert (1984) for an exploration of the inclusion of Native languages in the Victoria area. The report includes recommendations specific to the school districts involved and reveals the challenges and promise of language education in public schools. 41 Ms. Buchanan detailed the increase in attention to Aboriginal education over the last three decades, citing the recent Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements that were developed in collaboration with teachers, administrators, parents, and students, as well as the introduction of First Nations support workers in the schools, over the last ten years. She also mentioned the relative improvement of Aboriginal graduation rates over the years and the continued call from parents and students for educators and administration to address racism. 42 See Battiste (1998), Hermes (2005), Ledoux (2006), and Pewawardy (1998) for discussions on integrating Aboriginal content into curricula; see Smith (1999) for case study on culturally appropriate education for urban Aboriginal students. See also Williams (2001) for an overview of approaches to urban Aboriginal education in Vancouver.  30  Canada (see also Francis and Reyhner 2002). She asserts that the current system of education is founded upon ‘modern thought’ which emphasizes Western history and science, thereby preparing students for involvement in Canadian society but not sufficiently acknowledging Aboriginal experiences. Native histories, cultural worldviews, and languages have not been adequately conveyed through modern educational practices and have instead been distorted, relegated to inferior status, situated in an idyllic and inaccurate past, and homogenized. By questioning the underlying principles of modern education, Battiste calls for a re-evaluation of educational methods and standards. The lack of credit for Native language learning in Canadian classrooms, and minimal involvement or acknowledgement of Native language efforts by the federal government, indicates the low status and value of indigenous education by the public and education policymakers. She states that Aboriginal language education is key and must be viewed as a priority, suggesting that indigenous children not learn a ‘third language’, such as French if they have been educated in English, and instead focus on their own native language.43 Additionally, new and updated materials on First Nations language and culture must be developed and utilized in order to end perpetuation of damaging stereotypes. She also contends that a legislative act securing a place for holistic indigenous education and granting official status of Aboriginal languages in Canada is an essential step in the process toward successful First Nations cultural survival and educational advancement.44 Ms. Buchanan pointed out that including Native languages in public curricula is challenging because the Aboriginal population makes up such a small percentage of the population. She explained that a class must have high enough enrolment to be offered and that even an accredited course about First Nations Studies sometimes does not fulfill seat requirements. Many secondary students are reluctant to take courses that do not have an evident benefit for them. Similar to the ‘nagging questions’ the Dauenhauers ask about language, students may ask how learning an Aboriginal language or learning more about First Nations people might help them in their futures, careers, and daily lives. Furthermore, as Ms. Buchanan notes, the legacy of residential schools lingers and the formal public school system still represents, for some, the repressive assimilationist regime of the Canadian government. A cyclic pattern thus emerges: students are not taught the value of Aboriginal knowledges and worldviews, or more nuanced versions of Aboriginal history in Canada – including contemporary and urban Aboriginal experiences – and therefore do not pursue more education in these areas. Acknowledging local Aboriginal cultures 43 Dr. Archibald and Dr. Davis expressed that Aboriginal language learning can in fact contribute to knowledge about the English language. For example, learning about grammar of any language can help to understand the basic word classes of languages – nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Ms. Small explains the personal side of this possibility, “It’s an opportunity for them, if taught their own language – it opens the door to learning English better. But to be taught English first is very difficult because [your Aboriginal language] within you – there’s something in you that you just can’t relate to this other language.” 44 Dr. Gessner also pointed out the importance of officializing Aboriginal languages, even at the provincial level. Nichols (2006:34) argues, “where indigenous languages are recognized, indigenous peoples cannot be completely removed from the larger processes of decision making surrounding their communities.”  31  and their languages can be an important action toward altering this cycle. Integrating aspects of local history, including the past of the local peoples, into subject areas covering Canadian or world history can make children more aware of the history of the land they live on. For younger children, learning songs with Aboriginal words or content can be a way to incorporate local teachings. Reading contemporary literature by First Nations individuals is another possibility for bringing Aboriginal cultural knowledge and experiences into the classroom. Perhaps the most appropriate option is for teachers and schools to develop relationships with the local nations, bringing in elders or others willing to talk with the students, teach them songs, and tell their stories. Involving local Aboriginal peoples and their histories in public schools can also teach children about the diversity of First Nations. Knowing about the local groups will allow for development of knowledge about other Aboriginal people and their distinct traditions and experiences. In these ways, classrooms do not have to garner enough students to fill the seats for specialized courses in Aboriginal heritage; instead, First Nations content can be integrated into the course content. Likewise, language learning can be incorporated through learning songs or introduction to local languages by local peoples without having to offer distinct courses. For those who desire accreditation for Aboriginal language courses within the public school system, Ms. Buchanan noted that things are happening toward this end. The Vancouver School Board, the University of British Columbia, and the Musqueam Indian Band have joined together to offer a partnership program for the Həф?əmiфəτ language for public school students. Students are able to apply to take the language courses offered through the UBC First Nations Languages Program, which offers Həф?əmiфəτ through courses co-taught by linguists and Musqueam community members. The First Nations Languages Program also offered Cree courses this year and the classes were held at the Native Education College so more people living in the eastside of the city could attend.45 Collaboration between institutions allows for more flexibility for all involved. Making language learning opportunities known to parents and students is important, as is continually developing mechanisms for furthering the valuation of Aboriginal languages and cultures. Defining and honouring the value of Aboriginal languages and cultures may lead eventually to increased interest in Native languages and cultural content in the classroom.  Agencies In service organizations and learning institutions, especially those geared toward Aboriginal people, staff can learn basic greetings in the local languages as a sign of respect for their hosts. Several organizations already have cultural advisors from the local territories, so asking these advisors for respectful inclusion of Native words can be one  45  The First Nations Languages Program also offered Dakelh this year and has offered Kaska in the past. 32  possibility for honouring the local languages. I have seen numerous invitations and announcements about events held by and for Aboriginal people in Vancouver, and many include ‘Coast Salish Territories’ as part of the address for events. Including greetings such as ‘Hello’, ‘Welcome’ or ‘Thank you’, or specific place names, accompanied by an English translation, in newsletters or announcements, could be a profound yet simple way of demonstrating respect and assigning value to local languages, if done in a reverential way through collaborative means. Hearing or seeing a few Native words can serve as a reminder of the host peoples and the revitalization of Aboriginal peoples. For the local Nations, having words from their language on their letters of correspondence and websites is another demonstration of the presence of Aboriginal language. Xálek’ promotes aggressive tactics: “I call it ‘Operation Shock and Awe’. I think you have to do a blitz – get it all out… signage, language, computers, every stick of correspondence should always have some language on it.”  Public Places Similarly to using words or phrases in service organizations, learning institutions, and local band offices, having visible signs of the language on the urban landscape can also function as a trigger for people to think about the Aboriginal languages of the area. This is the purpose behind the Squamish Nation’s initiative to incorporate signage in Skwxwú7mesh Snichim on the Sea-to-Sky Highway on the way from Vancouver to Whistler as part of their Olympic host legacy strategy. People from around the country and across the world will be flying into Vancouver for the Olympic events, and many will travel through Squamish territory to Whistler for some of the competitions. More of the venues and signage along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, as it’s updated, will all be in our language, our shape and our colors, our fonts, geometric designs… The traveler – whether local or visitors – will see this and they won’t be able to read it. They won’t be able to understand it, but it will send an immediate message this must be indigenous because it’s not French or English…. It creates… a cultural journey through our territory. (Xálek’)  Commenting on this initiative, Ms. Webster asserted: It’s revolutionary because of what the residential schools stood for, because of what the Indian Act stands for… You [look] at the letters, the sevens and the w’s and the hyphens46 – just looking at that is creating the change. It’s like bringing that light back… And I think more people will come on board. Because I think… the reason why Native people or young people are so frustrated or whatever, it’s because we’re not acknowledged! We’re not honoured. (Webster)  Restoring a visible presence through signage is a way to value and honour the local territories and their languages. As Keith Basso (1996) notes, place names can evoke stories of the landscape.47 His work with the Western Apache reveals the intricate and profound nature of place-names that not only mark a place but also tell a story, allow living descendants to speak the language of their ancestors, provide cautionary tales of proper and improper behaviour –  46 Ms. Webster refers here to orthographic conventions of some First Nations languages. Symbols not used in the English alphabet are incorporated into Aboriginal orthographies to represent the many consonants the languages possess compared to European languages. 47 It is important to note that seascapes in this area of the world are as important as landscapes.  33  thereby gaining wisdom. For those who speak or know parts of the Native language, a visible place-name can act as validation and reinforcement of local identity, while those who do not know the language can be reminded of the Aboriginal presence on the land, something Xálek’ calls a ‘visible presence’ on the landscape. He states, “I want people to take pride in our culture, that our history is your history, that we all call this home now… I want it to be matter of fact that every one of those mountains over there have names that personify, they’re our ancestors that were transformed during the mythological times. Landmarks around here, place names, stories.” He highlights how a visible presence can fulfill a gap in knowledge about local groups as well as instill pride in Aboriginal peoples: “When it comes to language, we’re more or less invisible in our own lands. We can travel anywhere in our territory – there’s no visible presence that says we’re proud of our history, that there is an ancient and authentic way here.”  Events and Ceremonies Public events and ceremonies, including West Coast Nights at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre or presentations on National Aboriginal Day, offer opportunities for making a place for Aboriginal languages. Unlike the above sections on public places, these arenas do not necessarily have to be reserved for the local languages. Instead, they provide a stage for those who wish to identify their Aboriginal identity linguistically, through performance or speeches. This does not mean that local territories are not acknowledged. Many events held on UBC’s campus begin with a welcome by a Musqueam representative. I have attended performances by Aboriginal people with non-local ancestral heritage and they too will recognize their hosts before or during their performance. Sometimes this acknowledgement will be delivered in a non-local Aboriginal language. This serves two purposes: 1) to show respect for the local territories and their peoples; 2) to demonstrate distinct Aboriginal identities. Jocelyn Ahlers (2006) argues that Native Americans use Native languages in introductions, greetings, prayers, or closing remarks, to perform their identity linguistically, even if the speakers are not fluent in other domains and others in the audience cannot understand the language. She distinguishes this speech style from codeswitching and challenges the notion that the sole purpose of language is referential communication between two or more speakers.48 Ahlers (2006:58) asserts that in the contexts of Native events, performing an introduction in a Native language before proceeding in English “create[s] a discourse space shared by speaker and audience… [and] understood by audience members to come from, and to be informed by, a Native identity.” She also argues that an individual’s choice to use his or her distinct Native language in contexts of multi-national49 meeting places is  48  Ahlers’ research is based on events attended by Native Californians. Many Native California languages are highly endangered and some are extinct, with language learners relying previous language documentation. 49 ‘Multi-national’ here refers to Aboriginal nations.  34  actually a way to build a joint Native identity – a recognition and celebration of diversity within a goal of unity. The use of a Native language then becomes an identity marker in two senses – at once the individual is of a particular Nation while also an active participant in the group identity of Native Americans. Such uses of language act as a ‘framing device’ and Ahlers likens the speech events to regalia – tangible parts of identity performance. In Vancouver, if a member of one of the local nations incorporates the local Aboriginal language in a speech event, it demonstrates their identity as an Indigenous inhabitant of this land. If a non-local Aboriginal person uses another Native language, he or she is marking a non-Coast Salish identity while still demonstrating Aboriginality. By acknowledging the local First Nations hosts in a non-local vernacular, an individual can express recognition and respect for the Aboriginal people of the territory and highlight his or her distinct Native heritage.50  These prospects for public Aboriginal language learning and use need to be explored in more detail and in collaboration with the local peoples. Because their populations make up a small proportion of the general population of Vancouver, fulfilling these possibilities could potentially require a lot of effort and resources on the part of the local groups. With encouragement and support, however, this work could turn out to be highly rewarding. Opportunities for public uses of Native languages and possibilities for learning languages in public settings reveal the emerging dominant Aboriginal language ideology that local languages have eminence in public domains. Because of the great diversity of Aboriginal languages in the province and across Canada, acknowledging local Nations mitigates potential conflict about choosing which language to recognize and validate. In honouring local languages, one is in fact honouring the diverse and distinct Nations across the wider geo-political region. Here again, language becomes symbolic of many things: Aboriginal identity, sovereignty, decolonization. Making a public place for language means recognizing, respecting, and upholding the local Native languages.  Personal and Collective Journeys toward Language Acquisition and Revitalization While most of this paper has attended to the facet of expressed language ideology that encourages placing languages locally, this section will highlight potential actions for all Aboriginal people living in the city who seek to learn their Native language. Already we have seen in the section above a possibility for marking identity publicly through use of non-local Aboriginal languages. What other opportunities exist for making a place for language in the city? How does one learn a language with no formal structures in place to do so? How can individuals find available resources to aid in their path toward Aboriginal language education? During interviews, several research participants brainstormed with me about the possibilities that already exist for potential language learners as well as promising 50  See Morgan (2005) for examples of integrating Indigenous languages into public events such as Powwows.  35  new ideas that can contribute to finding solutions for the dilemma of urban Aboriginal language education. Many of these ideas stem from circumstances unique to the urban environment. Reserve Partnerships Because some members of the urban Aboriginal population move between the city and their homelands, strong links with reserve communities could be fostered and utilized for language revitalization partnerships. Many reserves in British Columbia have various kinds of language programs in place, including language immersion schools and camps, language classes for adults and children, and language documentation projects. The First Peoples Heritage, Language, and Culture Council (FPHLCC) provides annual funding for many of these initiatives. The Council was established in 1990 as a provincial organization and is supported through the First Peoples Heritage, Language and Culture Act, a provincial act of legislation. Revitalizing Native languages of British Columbia is a challenging task due to the number of languages and dialects, but Kway’Waat, the FPHLCC Language Coordinator, endeavours to use provincial funds effectively to help communities meet their goals. During our interview, Kway’Waat discussed a number of programs currently running throughout the province funded through her agency.51 Most are based on reserve, though the Council does have urban representation and receives applications for urban language education programs each year. Those who have applied for urban programs must specify one language in their grant application and typically this is the local language, though she acknowledged the efforts of the urban Nisga’a society as well, discussed below. Kway’Waat stressed that all communities receiving funding are strongly encouraged to share language education resources. A requirement for funding specifically aimed toward the development of language education materials is that materials will be made available to community members free of cost. In addition to sharing language materials, reserve communities can also reach out to their urban constituents in other ways, such as establishing outreach language classes in the city or opening up reserve programs to city members. The Nisga’a have already seized this opportunity by creating an urban society of Nisga’a Nation members. Ms. Small, a Nisga’a woman, explained that her Nation has “specific services for Nisga’a only” in the city. The urban Nisga’a society is connected with her homeland and she reasons that other nations could follow a similar model. Language and culture classes are offered and other services are extended to Nisga’a living in three urban centres: Vancouver, Prince Rupert, and Terrace. By giving urban members opportunities to learn more about Nisga’a culture and language, the Nisga’a Nation is strengthened through creating a strong transnational community. Perhaps the most persuasive reason for including reserve communities in urban language revitalization efforts stems from the heavily emphasized connection between land and language. Urban Aboriginal people who 51  Onowa McIvor (2005) also details two language nest programs in British Columbia – one developed by the Secwepemc Nation and the other by Lil’wat Nation – based on the successful language programs geared toward young children in Hawai’i and New Zealand.  36  have moved to and from their homelands and cities may find opportunities to learn their ancestral language on their homelands but have no such option in the city. Any motivation to learn while on reserve might be stunted by the strong possibility of movement to another place where the language is not readily accessible. To maintain a connection with the land while away, an individual might find solace in hearing and using the language so symbolic of the land. A place in the city can be made for this connection through reserve-urban partnerships. As Ms. Small notes, one can learn and use an Aboriginal language in the city but go back home to nourish it. Establishing a place in the city for Aboriginal language does not weaken the relationship Aboriginal people have with homelands; instead, it can serve to strengthen it.  Language Immersion Camps Another alternative for creating and sustaining the land-language connection for urban individuals is the development of language immersion camps. Ten language immersion camps were funded by the FPHLCC last year. For up to two weeks, fluent speakers and a group of language learners, especially youth, spend time together on the land immersed one hundred percent in the ancestral language of that territory (cf. Sims 2001:70). According to Kway’Waat, “they can go on the land, trapping or fishing or whatever… Have fun with it, make it cultural, make it connecting to the land that way.” As stated on the description of the programs for next year’s applicants seeking to establish winter or summer camps:  Key to supporting long-term culture and language revitalization will be engaging youth with their culture and language, building closer relationships between the generations; teaching through traditional activities where land, ceremonies, stories, history and language support each other and rekindle the relationships between children, parents, elders and the traditional culture. (FPHLCC 2008:2) For urban Aboriginal people, these language immersion camps can serve as a catalyst for making a place for language in the city. While the experience of enjoyment of learning the language on the land may be difficult to transfer to an urban space, a short but intensive experience with one’s ancestral language can have a personal or spiritual effect, which encourages further connection with one’s language and homeland. In the event that these camps are the only opportunity for language exposure for an urban Aboriginal person, they take on greater significance. Because these initiatives are already happening, extending an invitation to urban residents is a possible way for reserve communities to reach out to their urban members. Another alternative would be for an urban First Nations group, like the urban Nisga’a society, to apply for the creation of such a program for themselves.  37  Internet Language Learning For many research participants, the Internet represents a new frontier for urban Aboriginal people seeking access to ancestral languages (Buszard-Welcher 2001:331-348; see also Eisenlohr 2004). Ms. Small states, “With modern technologies today, there should be ways for [people] to learn their language… You can do animation, teaching language through animation. They should be doing a lot of those kinds of things, developing resources, so all of our people can relearn no matter where they live.” In fact online and other media resources have been developed for many Aboriginal languages in Canada. The FirstVoices project, an online Aboriginal language portal, was developed by the First Peoples Cultural Foundation, and the FPHLCC supported the initiative from the start. “The tool for FirstVoices – there’s so much language learning that’s available through FirstVoices… we find it to be a popular tool right now for all across Canada and the world,” Kway’Waat remarks. Individuals can access audio, video, and text of dozens of Canadian Aboriginal languages.52 Learners can play language games, practice, and listen to speakers saying words in their language.53 Some communities have developed other online resources through language documentation work. Dr. Gessner endeavoured to create an online dictionary as part of her doctoral research with the Dakelh language. In our interview, she highlighted the potential the Internet offers for connecting language learners and users, though she notes that not all individuals in rural areas have access to the Internet. One challenge of virtual communication in Aboriginal languages is a lack of readily accessible fonts in some languages with detailed orthographies, but the possibility of audio and video technology in communication helps to mitigate the literacy component required by textual communication. Because the Internet can be accessed in many First Nations people’s homes as well as in public libraries throughout the city, Internet language learning resources, like FirstVoices and other efforts, provide a virtual place for urban Aboriginal language learning.  Singing and Dance Groups and Other Cultural Traditions Incorporating Language In their discussion of Tlingit technical, emotional, and ideological attitudes toward the Tlingit language, Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer (1998:67-68) note that while language learning efforts were finding limited success in communities, singing and dancing groups were thriving. “Singing and dancing are easier, more fun, more tangible, and less threatening than language learning.” They list possible reasons for the imbalance between singing and dancing initiatives and language education, and they voice concern that singing and dancing provide only surface  52  Some of the languages have restricted access for community members only. Media developments for language revitalization are especially important considering the pervasive mainstream media which competes against cultural traditions and events for the attention of Aboriginal youth. “Aboriginal youth today have to contend with the prevailing influence of English and French though the mass media, popular culture, and other aspects of their daily lives such as education and work” (Norris 2007:24). 53  38  exposure to language learning. Ms. Buchanan, who belongs to a singing and drumming group, sees things differently: “Teaching in that formal set-up that we use for learning languages… it doesn’t give those students an opportunity to practice and carry it on. But with songs – some of the words can stick with them for the rest of their life.” Likewise, Kway’Waat reflects on communities applying to the FPHLCC for traditional culture programming: “We allow the community to do those types of projects that would promote language… I’ve heard communities say, ‘Well, if we didn’t have this traditional song class, learning the language while we’re doing it, it never would have sparked the whole community. It never would have motivated the community.’” Urban singing dance groups have already formed in Vancouver, sometimes joining together individuals from different nations, other times bringing together members from the same cultural background, such as the group in which Kwakwaka’wakw Man participates. Singing and dance groups may put on performances, host events, or simply allow the group to make a place for their Aboriginality in the city. Sometimes motivation to learn an Aboriginal language develops out of these groups and other times the groups foster language learning collectively through song. Hearing Aboriginal languages can happen during other activities. Mr. Hall explains, “In the 90’s, there was a whole revitalization of culture where people decided that they wanted to learn more about the culture. Tribal Journeys was introduced, people went back to making traditional ocean-going canoes. As a part of that, they did some learning about protocols, part of the protocols included the language.” Tribal Journeys is an annual canoe event held in association with the North American Indigenous Games. Participants engage in cultural protocol and activities while paddling ocean-going canoes to venues along the Northwest Coast, honouring and reviving Aboriginal heritage on the ocean. Other canoe journeys have been initiated along the coast, and many urban Aboriginal individuals participate. These occasions allow for cultural expression, relationship building, and celebration of survival. The incorporation of ancestral languages in these journeys is another way to make a place for Native languages in people’s lives. Like song and dance performances and immersion camps, the inclusion of Native languages does not necessarily translate into the daily lives of Aboriginal people, but the seed gets planted that may grow into valuation of language and cultural tradition or the reinforcement of cultural pride. These events and performances also serve as memorable occasions for those involved to explore their heritage in more corporeal and tangible ways. Ms. Buchanan states, “I just know that I’ve learned more of the language by being in a singing and drumming group than I would if I went to a night class to learn the language, because then I’m able to practice. I remember going to a summer class and taking notes… but it doesn’t allow you to formulate those words and hear  39  those words.” This statement points to a theme that emerged in interviews – formal language learning, focusing on literacy and held in classrooms, is not the preferred method of language education for urban Aboriginal peoples. While many research participants expressed an interest in seeing local languages incorporated into the public school system, this was motivated more by the validation and recognition of Aboriginal language this would symbolize than by expectations that school learning would develop active Aboriginal language speakers. Dr. Archibald states, “I think we’re often too stuck using the basic linguistic method, where it’s a few minutes a week, and learning the alphabet – learning language disembodied from its function. Nothing against that – you certainly have to know the grammar and all of that – but it seems to me, why not get functional language happening and then you can get to learn the linguistic stuff?” Xálek’ echoes this sentiment, explaining that his grandfather was a language teacher in high school “but three hours a week isn’t where we’re going to learn fluency or proficiency, it’s just an opportunity to practice, learn to read and write.” Ms. Small also supports finding ways to incorporate language and culture into the lives of urban Aboriginal people: “Language and culture is a way of life, it’s a daily thing. … it’s not all of a sudden we’re going to have a feast and let’s use our language and culture – it’s a way of life, it’s a total way of who you are and what you are. It’s your heartbeat. It’s all of that.” For those interested in actively engaging with Aboriginal language learning in the city and making a place for language in daily life, a deep commitment is involved. The next section covers the most promising possibility for urban language learning that emerged through interviews and literature review.  Master-Apprentice Language Learning Linguist Leanne Hinton developed an approach to learning endangered Aboriginal languages, called MasterApprentice Language Learning Method, along with other stakeholders in Native Californian language revitalization efforts. In their guidebook for Masters and Apprentices, Hinton and her co-authors Matt Vera and Nancy Steele explain: The Master-Apprentice Language-Learning Method is a mentored learning approach, created for people who may not have access to language classes, but, instead, have access to a speaker… This program is designed for communities in which there are elders who still know their language but rarely have an opportunity to speak it. It is for communities who want to preserve their native language and bring it back into use again. It is to help adults learn their languages of heritage so they can pass them on through programs at home, school, or in the community. It is also for individual members of the communities who want to learn their language, just because they love it. (Hinton, Vera, and Steele 2001:xiii)  The urban Aboriginal language context, particularly in a linguistically diverse place like Vancouver, offers an appropriate environment for this type of language learning. Some fluent elders from communities around the province have moved to Vancouver during their lifetime for employment, education, family, or personal reasons, 40  just like others in the past and present. Some move temporarily to Vancouver for health reasons, staying in healthcare facilities in the city. Just like individuals seeking to learn their language in the city, few obvious opportunities exist for elders to speak their language. A place must be made to open up these opportunities. Young people appreciate opportunities to interact with elders. As Kwakwaka’wakw Man reflected, elders “are a bridge to our past. We learn from elders in that sense, telling their stories, inspiring us, enlightening us, giving us strength, giving us hope, instilling faith in us. It’s a good feeling when we go to a gathering in an urban setting here… and one of our elders is living in that community… Those are the experiences that keep us going.” Master-Apprentice learning is a promising possibility for both a fluent speaker who wants to make a place for speaking a language and for a potential learner who wants to learn. It requires a lot of commitment and patience from both individuals. “The master-apprentice program is designed so that a highly motivated team consisting of a speaker and a learner can go about language teaching/learning on their own without outside help from experts. The teaching and learning is done through immersion: the team members commit themselves to spending ten to twenty hours per week together, speaking primarily in the language” (Hinton, Vera, and Steele 2001:xiv). Ideally, the team would get funding to compensate for this amount of time. New funding opportunities are available through the FPHLCC for Master-Apprentice pairs, but are limited in number.54 Committed individuals who participate in this approach and cannot secure funding will have to rely on personal motivation to begin and continue their partnership. Because individuals from diverse First Nations backgrounds live in the city, matching Masters and Apprentices may be a challenging task. The first step is identifying interested fluent speakers. Many urban Aboriginal individuals have established networks with other Aboriginal people, including members of their Nation or cultural group. Finding speakers through word of mouth is an appropriate place to begin when these networks are in place. Already many groups and organizations rely on word of mouth for communicating information about events and inviting participation in activities. “Sometimes if you’re looking at the end of the life of a language, when people think that all speakers have disappeared from their home territory, you’ll find that somebody’s moved off and you’ll find them in isolated pockets,” Dr. Davis noted, “People show up in the oddest places… The next situation is how you get learners to get connected with speakers.” He suggests that the Master-Apprentice method as a suitable approach for the Downtown Eastside. He continues, “This is not an ideal situation for language learning generally… You have to expect a kind of trade-off between effective language transmission and social value of just giving people attention in the language and the value of putting people who are from the same language community 54 At the time of our interview, Kway’Waat reported that there were ten Master-Apprentice teams funded through her agency. Each team is asked to do 300 hours per year using one hundred percent immersion during their time together. The teams are funded for three years. Dr. Hinton met with the pairs at the start of their first year and did training for two days with the participants.  41  together.” Even outside of the Downtown Eastside and the troubles that afflict many of its population, competing priorities of city life exist. Adults have jobs and childcare challenges, children have school, and people have many social concerns and activities to juggle. Nonetheless, urban Aboriginal people have made places in their lives for cultural expression. Making a place for language can be an opportunity to explore culture in another way, and the Master-Apprentice approach is conducive to this environment. It is more amenable to the urban setting than a systematic class because it can allow flexibility. Masters and Apprentices can talk in their ancestral language while caring for children, grocery shopping, or taking walks. In fact these activities might be ideal environments for fostering a living relationship with the language – learning to apply Native words and ideas to city life. There is a possibility that these competing priorities may interfere with learning, but if the pair is committed, they can incorporate life routines into their time together. Dr. Gessner also suggested the Master-Apprentice method: “You know, you’ve got so many different languages… you can’t really mount a whole class for each one. And you have all these qualified, really wonderful resources, in terms of people out there who are fluent speakers of their language.” She expresses the need for a coordinator to match pairs as does Dr. Davis. “In order for it to work well,” A Master-Apprentice coordinator could operate out of one of the Aboriginal service or education institutions in Vancouver.55 Dr. Gessner explains, “You would want to have someone sort of overseeing all of the groups, and maybe organizing every couple of weeks or once a month, a meeting where everyone gets together and shares their experiences and so on.” She got the idea from an Apprentice who developed an Apprentice group in her community. Their meetings allow the Apprentices a space to vent frustrations, share success stories, and practice their language together. In addition to pairing speakers and learners and establishing group meetings, the coordinator could also apply for funding in collaboration with Master-Apprentice teams and collect resources for language learning. The teams and members participating in group meetings could convene in the community centres around the city, including Neighbourhood Houses, the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the Native Education College, or the First Nations House of Learning. The job of the coordinator could potentially be quite busy and difficult, especially at first, but establishing the position in an already recognized facility, with supportive staff working in other ways to make places for Aboriginal culture in the city, would make the initial process smoother. More research will need to be done to find ways to finance a Master-Apprentice coordinator position. Dr. Davis advised, “You need a considerable amount of flexibility to do this… you need some money as well because you’ve got to pay 55 It would be most appropriate for the coordinator to be of Aboriginal descent. This individual can appreciate the particular challenges Aboriginal people might experience. Also, the appointment of an Aboriginal person in this position would be in line with calls for Aboriginal selfdetermination and control over education.  42  people, right? You need flexibility, money – but I think ultimately it would not be such a huge investment in terms of the pay-off of what you get.” Although the creation of a Master-Apprentice coordinator position would be ideal for managing language learning in the city, self-motivated individuals can draw on their own connections and pull together a MasterApprentice team through their own efforts. Making a place for Aboriginal language in the city on such a deep and personal level could be incredibly enriching for all involved. It will also be challenging and at times stressful, but as Mark Fettes (1997) notes, learning a language can and should be enjoyable. In his powerful paper advocating for a ‘triple braid’ approach to language renewal, Fettes emphasizes that doing things together in a language, telling stories in a language, and creating living relationships through language learning and use are essential components to successful language renewal. The Master-Apprentice approach opens up these possibilities for social, cultural, and linguistic connections. In Vancouver this method is appealing and applicable as it allows for flexibility of urban patterns of life, addresses the reality of diversity in its small-scale approach, and utilizes ostensibly available resources – fluent speakers, willing learners, and physical places for language sharing.  These practical approaches allow individuals and communities to make a place for Aboriginal language learning in the city. After making a place ideologically in one’s urban life, learning to fit Native language education into regular practice requires commitment and enthusiasm. Dedicated language learners can tailor these suggestions to their needs and come up with other ways that fit within their daily practices. The emerging language ideologies expressed during interviews indicate that some people are ready to make room in their urban lives for language. Knowing one’s options allows for exploration, trial and error, and adaptation in efforts toward Native language acquisition.  CONCLUSION With the support of academic literature and reflections from knowledgeable and experienced research participants, I have argued that emerging language ideologies in the context of the urban environment of Vancouver support the idea that a place can and should be made for Aboriginal language learning in the city. Historical and contemporary forces shape language ideologies, and expressed attitudes about Aboriginal language by research participants suggest that protocol plays a critical role as well in the urban setting: the local languages of the host First Nations are the top priority, particularly in public situations. To make a place for language in the city does not simply mean setting aside a physical space for language learning and use. Instead, individuals and community members must confront ideological obstructions to Aboriginal language revitalization and determine how they imagine Native 43  languages fitting into their contemporary urban realities. Once this ideological clarification has been achieved, individuals and communities can determine ways of incorporating language learning and use into their lives. I have recommended several possibilities for making a practical place for language in the city, but this list is not exhaustive. Creative ideas can be applied by committed language learners and speakers to establish practices for effective urban language education. “Because of the diversity of language structures involved, of the patterns of language use, of attitudes toward traditional languages, and of human and material resources available, no single goal is appropriate for all situations, nor is there a single formula for success” (Mithun 1998:187). Throughout this paper, I have also mentioned that validation of Aboriginal languages is an essential component of language revival efforts. Due to the colonial history of marginalizing Native peoples and their languages and the ongoing experiences of racism Aboriginal people face, recognizing and honouring the Indigenous languages of this land can not only help in language revitalization but can also work to mitigate the negative effects of colonization, to restore pride in Native cultures, and to educate others about the diverse First Nations of British Columbia, including the local peoples. I have argued that connections between land, language, and identity must be appreciated and encouraged as these relationships are critical components of Aboriginal language ideologies, even in urban settings. Drawing on the work of Wilson and Peters (2005) and Ramirez (2007), I have noted that many urban Aboriginal people can be characterized as transnationals – “citizens of both their home and host societies, … participating in various ways in the economic, political, and cultural lives of their countries of origin as well as their adopted countries” (Wilson and Peters 2005:397). The city and its local Aboriginal peoples act as a hub for individuals who move or travel between their homelands and their urban homes. Those interested in pursuing urban language revitalization initiatives can draw on these transnational networks to establish partnerships with reserves, locate fluent speakers, and activate interest in language learning through word of mouth. Because Aboriginal people from many Nations have converged in Metro Vancouver, they can also share insights and success stories about language revitalization efforts, building a group of skilled and knowledgeable individuals. Ms. Webster advised, “We just need to connect and network with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and learn from them… we need to acknowledge and enhance those things that are already happening.” Though scattered throughout the Lower Mainland, finding and making places for culture and language can bring people and resources together; recognizing their efforts can sustain their energies. The Aboriginal population is growing at a faster rate than the non-Aboriginal population (StatsCan 2007; Cardinal 2006:219). Urban and reserve populations are increasing. As several Aboriginal research participants noted, they are not going anywhere, so their voices and concerns should be heard and addressed. Language 44  revitalization is a pressing issue that deserves attention and action. Kwakwaka’wakw Man recommended that all stakeholders continue taking baby steps toward their goals, honouring people’s gifts for how they contribute to community goals. Xálek’ and Dr. Davis advocated for long-term personal and community planning for language initiatives. Dr. Davis stated, “Learning a language – people always want a quick fix. They always want a magic bullet for language learning, and there isn’t any. It’s hard work and you’re never going to be as fluent as your elders who were raised in the language. You’re always going to be struggling. And it’s still worth it.” According to Xálek’, “There’s a handful of [Squamish] words everybody knows… To me, that’s symbolic of the stories – you just kind of keep the embers alive, you just have to keep blowing on the embers, stoke the fire. The fire hasn’t fully gone out yet, … so we need to build on that somehow.” Kway’Waat pointed out that “other experts in the world say that there are only three [Canadian Aboriginal] languages that are expected to survive. Any of the British Columbia languages, what they’re saying is that they’re not going to survive.” Kway’Waat and others are working hard to make sure that does not happen. She stated, “We need more education and promotion about the languages and the value of our languages, especially in British Columbia… if we promote and value it ourselves, it does a lot of good.” Commitment and drive are needed, and there are many competing priorities, but Ms. Webster is hopeful. “Things are happening. Things are changing…. and our young people are very very proud.”  45  BIBLIOGRAPHY Ahlers, Jocelyn C. 2006. Framing Discourse: Creating Community through Native Language Use. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 16(1):58-75. Armitage, Andrew. 1995. Comparing the Policy of Aboriginal Assimilation: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Vancouver: UBC Press. Basso, Keith. 1996. Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 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Native American Youth Discourses on Language Shift and Retention: Ideological Cross-currents and Their Implications for Language Planning. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 9(5):659-677. ———. 2006b. Reclaiming the Gift: Indigenous Youth Counter-Narratives on Native Language Loss and Revitalization. American Indian Quarterly 30(1&2):28-48. McDonald, Robert A.J. 1996. Making Vancouver: Class, Status, and Social Boundaries, 1886-1913. Vancouver: UBC Press. McIvor, Onowa. 2005. Building the Nests: Indigenous Language Revitalization in Canada Through Early Childhood Immersion Programs. MA Thesis. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria. Mihesuah, Devon. 2005. So You Want to Write About American Indians? A Guide for Writers, Students, and Scholars. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Mithun, Marianne. 1998. “The Significance of Diversity in Language Endangerment and Preservation” in Endangered Languages: Current Issues and Future Prospects. 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Flagstaff: Center for Excellence in Education. Reyhner, Jon, Joseph Martin, Louise Lockard, and W. Sakiestewa Gilbert, eds. 2000. Learn in Beauty: Indigenous Education for a New Century. Flagstaff: Center for Excellence in Education. Reyhner, Jon, Octaviana V. Trujillo, Roberto Luis Carrasco, and Louise Lockard, eds. 2003. Nurturing Native Languages. Flagstaff: Center for Excellence in Education. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. 1996. Perspectives and Realities. Ottawa. Shaw, Patricia A. 2001. Language and Identity, Language and the Land. BC Studies 131:39-55. Sims, Christine P. 2001. “Native Language Planning: A Pilot Process in the Acoma Pueblo Community” in The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice. Edited by Leanne Hinton and Kenneth Hale, pp. 63-74. San Diego: Academic Press. ———. 2005. Tribal Languages and the Challenges of Revitalization. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 36(1):104-106. Smith, Douglas. 1999. 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Peters. 2005. ‘You Can Make a Place for It’: Remapping Urban First Nations Spaces of Identity. Society and Space 23:395-413. Woolard, Kathryn A. and Bambi B. Schieffelin. 1994. Language Ideology. Annual Review of Anthropology 23:5582. Wyman, Leisy Thornton. 2004. Language Shift, Youth Culture, and Ideology: A Yup’ik Example. PhD thesis. Stanford: Stanford University.  49  APPENDIX: UBC BEHAVIOURAL RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL The University of British Columbia Office of Research Services Behavioural Research Ethics Board Suite 102, 6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z3 CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL - MINIMAL RISK INSTITUTION / UBC BREB NUMBER: DEPARTMENT: John Barker UBC/Arts/Anthropology H07-02741 INSTITUTION(S) WHERE RESEARCH WILL BE CARRIED OUT: Institution Site N/A N/A Other locations where the research will be conducted: N/A CO-INVESTIGATOR(S): Natalie Jean-Keiser Baloy SPONSORING AGENCIES: N/A PROJECT TITLE: Exploring the Potential for Native Language Revitalization in an Urban Context: Language Education in Vancouver PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:  CERTIFICATE EXPIRY DATE: February 4, 2009 DOCUMENTS INCLUDED IN THIS APPROVAL: Document Name Consent Forms: Contact letter Interview questions Consent form 12-10-07 Letter of Initial Contact: Baloy - Letter of Initial Contact  DATE APPROVED: February 4, 2008 Version Date N/A N/A N/A  January 1, 2008 January 1, 2008 December 10, 2007  N/A  December 10, 2007  The application for ethical review and the document(s) listed above have been reviewed and the procedures were found to be acceptable on ethical grounds for research involving human subjects. Approval is issued on behalf of the Behavioural Research Ethics Board and signed electronically by one of the following: Dr. M. Judith Lynam, Chair Dr. Ken Craig, Chair Dr. Jim Rupert, Associate Chair Dr. Laurie Ford, Associate Chair Dr. Daniel Salhani, Associate Chair Dr. Anita Ho, Associate Chair  50  

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