Aboriginal youth to carry on culture and heritage through digital media
St. Anne's youth choir open the event with their honour song.
By Courtenay Griffin
The Miawpukek First Nation and Memorial University’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) officially launched a project at an event on March 30 that will preserve and share knowledge of the Miawpukek people of Conne River, Newfoundland and Labrador, to ensure their culture and heritage can be carried on by its youth.
The two partners showcased digital tools created for the Stories of Conne River project, which provides a virtual cultural connection for First Nation people nationally and internationally to engage in dialogue, build communities, and learn and preserve unique traditions. The event also included a special performance by the St. Anne’s youth choir of Conne River.
“The creativity and innovative thought from the team on this project were exemplary,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, director of DELT. “It is a privilege for DELT to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Miawpukek First Nation of Conne River on a project that not only benefits Miawpukek youth, but also First Nation communities around the globe.”
Using 3D virtual environments, the partners graphically recreated the story of Muinji’j: Becomes a Man, written by Chief Mi’sel Joe, the leader of the Miawpukek First Nations Band. Enhanced by the use of video, sound and narrative, participants are able to role-play the story’s characters and engage in associated learning activities that teach traditional values carried down by the Miawpukek First Nation for generations.
For First Nations people, migration often creates barriers to learning and sustaining the collective memory of its elders of the history, culture and traditions is more difficult as the number of elders decrease. However, this project provides a venue to learn about this Canadian First Nations community, and the multi-modal delivery will encourage all generations to participate and gain a deeper understanding of their culture and heritage.
In developing the digital media for the project, leaders of Conne River’s Miawpukek First Nation provided the content as well as the authentic resources including text, graphics and audio of the Mi’kmaq. The design and development of eLearning resources, which consisted of instructional design for the various digital components, were completed by DELT; the unit also provided administrative and financial project management, as well as marketing/promotion support.
The project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy. Financial support was also provided by Inukshuk Wireless.
To learn more about Stories of Conne River, visit www.storiesofconneriver.ca. A video of the Stories of Conne River event is also be available at www.distance.mun.ca.