Master of Arts
Granadillo de Espanol, Tania
This thesis explores how people involved in Indigenous language revitalization efforts in Canada have responded and adapted to the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic from March to November 2020. Through virtual interviews, an online survey, an analysis of tweets about Indigenous language revitalization in Canada, and observations of webinars among people involved in language work, this research focuses on how people have adjusted and accelerated their Indigenous language activities during a prolonged period of social isolation. Genocidal policies and practices continue to reproduce inequities for Indigenous peoples and are affecting those involved in Indigenous language work during COVID. This thesis gives examples of how people create virtual pedagogies and engage in networking and resource-sharing online with people involved in similar efforts in order to exchange experiences and advice. Online tools are instrumental in facilitating connections among Indigenous peoples and languages and they are enhanced by government accountability, support, and funding.
Summary for Lay Audience
The transmission of Indigenous languages to future generations has been dramatically halted by the Canadian government’s policies of genocide, removal, and dispossession. Because of these violent interventions of government and religious institutions in Canada, many Indigenous peoples are involved in language revitalization activities in order to (re)learn their ancestral languages. Language revitalization efforts take many different forms and use various methods, including language classes, camps, immersion programs, and community contexts where the language is used and taught. Many language revitalization efforts are centered around getting people together to use a language. The COVID-19 pandemic, and its related constraints of social isolation, lockdowns, and border closures, complicate these efforts. This thesis focuses on the March to November 2020 period of COVID and documents the experiences of people involved in Indigenous language revitalization in Canada. Drawing from virtual interviews, an online survey, an analysis of tweets about Indigenous language revitalization in Canada, and observations of webinars among people involved in language work, this project gives examples of how people have adjusted and accelerated their Indigenous language activities during a prolonged period of being isolated from other people. People are using online technologies like Twitter and Zoom to promote Indigenous language learning and use while in quarantine. People are creating ways to teach Indigenous language content through social media and are participating in online conversations with other people involved in similar efforts. Online practices and tools facilitate networking and resource-sharing and they are enhanced by Indigenous (language) legislation, government accountability, support, and adequate funding.
Gallant, Laura, "Indigenous Language Revitalization Efforts in Canada during COVID-19: Facilitating and Maintaining Connections using Digital Technologies" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7934.
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