Language lost? Culture lost.

Rob Jirucha

There are 34 aboriginal languages in BC. This is 70% of Canada’s total First People’s languages. National Geographic rates BC as a “hotspot” for language loss. A few communities are working hard to pass on language to the youth. However, most of BC’s 34 communities just have a few elders who still retain their original languages.

My idea is to photographically document a representative elder from each of these communities. I hope that by gathering this body of work, I will be able to bring awareness to language loss and how it affects all of us (i.e. homogeneity never works very well).

I have completed one full photo shoot of a local elder. I would share stories, show photos from that experience and discuss the work he is doing to pass on language/culture to youth. Some stories are funny, some are moving. How does their world intersect ours? What can we learn from the culture they pass on to youth versus what we are passing on to our youth? How can we connect?

About Rob Jirucha:

Rob Jirucha holds an MA in Counseling Psychology.

I spent 15 years working with youth in counseling and outdoor-based settings. I am a self- taught photographer and began Legacy by Photography this past year. L by P is an effort to photograph seniors and elders in the settings and situations that define their character.

My photo-documentary work with aboriginal elders often captures elders and their efforts to pass on values and culture to youth. Given my past work with youth, I have some interesting observations to share about North American youth and Aboriginal youth.

A short video I put together of one local elder can be viewed at

2012 IdeaWave