Getting Creative with Language Preservation

cestrategies All Projects, Project Management, Recent Projects, Traditional Knowledge

The first few months of each calendar year line up with (the last few months of the government fiscal year), making it a very busy and interesting time for us. We often find ourselves broadening our scope of corporate capabilities, and expanding our skills into new territory. This year was no exception. One of our longest standing clients, Mitaanjigamiing First Nation, approached us in February to help them with a language preservation project.

The language preservation project involved two components: an Ojibway/English calendar and videos of Elders pronouncing common words and phrases in both languages. Having recently hired two team members from graphic design and marketing backgrounds, this project was an exciting extension of our services, and an honour to be a part of.

The concept for the calendar is so brilliant that we only wish we came up with it ourselves. Each month includes a new category of Ojibway-English words, so individuals can learn a different set of words throughout the month. The days of the week, months of the year, and dates are also in Ojibway. For such a simple item, we expect this calendar will be very effective in preserving the Ojibway language and helping Mitaanjigamiing community members learn or maintain their language.

The second part of the project took recordings of Elders speaking Ojibway words and phrases and transformed them into a resourceful catalogue that can be accessed by all community members. We subtitled each video to provide both spelling and pronunciation, and grouped them by category for efficiency. This video catalogue will be a fantastic resource for Mitaanjigamiing as they continue to preserve and promote their language, and can be used by future generations yet to come.

We are grateful that we got the opportunity to work on such an important project with this valued client. As language preservation continues to grow in its importance, we hope to continue supporting the revitalization process.