Speaker Series on Aboriginal Issues 2017 — Reclaiming Story with the Help of Digital Media

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Date created: 
Secwepemc knowledge
Marianne Ignace
Chief Ron Ignace
language documentation
Haida Gwaii
Speaker Series on Aboriginal Issues
SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement
community engagement
higher education

This presentation discusses the path of re-claiming stories that were recorded from Secwepemc knowledge keepers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Unfortunately, these stories survive in English renditions only. Through collaborative story-writing with elders in her home community, Skeetchestn and other Secwepemc communities, Marianne Ignace and Chief Ron Ignace re-translated and re-claimed them in the Secwepemc language by re-thinking their meaning, style and message, and the places and environments they connect to.

The group then turned them into digital media, accompanied by vibrant illustrations which also involved collaboration between a young artist and elders. Making these available, celebrating them on the land and reconnecting to the places of the stories, but then also making them available as an app to enable digital learning allows new generations of Secwepemc to access them and learn to tell them.


Marianne Ignace is the director of the First Nations Language Centre at Simon Fraser University, and is a professor in the departments of Linguistics and First Nations Studies. She currently directs a seven-year SSHRC Partnership Grant on First Nations language revitalization in BC and Yukon, working with 12 diverse language groups. Her own research has focused on Secwepemc, Sm’algyax and Haida language documentation, and she continues to work with elders and language learners in her home community, Skeetchestn, in her adopted community, Old Massett in Haida Gwaii and with Sm’algyax speakers and learners in Prince Rupert. Her other interests are ethnobotany and Indigenous language story-work.



Document type: 
Rights remain with the authors.