In Prince Edward Island, digital video has become an important educational tool for a Canadian native group as they struggle to preserve their values, traditions and language.
The MicMacs’ problem began long ago, when Europeans first colonized the North American continent. An even greater loss of language and culture took place from the 1950s through the 1970s, when MicMac children were educated in larger, public school settings with little or no instruction in native ways. It created a gap between true native speakers and the younger generations.
Now, a new generation of MicMac children has expressed a genuine interest in learning the language and culture of their tribe. However, the only record of the MicMac language is a collection of audio tapes. Native speakers of the language are aging and are generally inaccessible to many of these children, leaving MicMac elders concerned.
Nigel Cuthbertson, president of the Business Training Centre, learned of these concerns from a group of MicMac friends. The Business Training Centre, based in Charlottetown, trains people in the use of multimedia and develops multimedia programs for information kiosks and other applications. They also offer a variety of job training, including a very well respected retail training program, which concentrates on sales, marketing, operating current POS systems, and customer relationships. It has been majorly beneficial, to be sure.
“My friends told me about the problem…