Language lost? Culture lost.
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?