Browsing articles in "Uncategorized"
Aug 30, 2012
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Hawaiian language immersion programs receive support from Kellogg Foundation

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ʻAha Pūnana Leo, a non-profit educational organization operating Hawaiian “language nest” immersion schools (11 preschools on five islands, one infant and toddler program, and co-administering four charter, Hawaiian medium, K-12 sites on four islands), has received funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support a four-year project.

The initiative will aim to create an accreditation process for Hawaiian Language Medium preschools, increase the academic rigor of the programs, and provide opportunities for teacher development and resources for families involved.

Language nest schools have been the driving force behind Hawaii’s language revitalization movement.  Thirty years ago, teaching the Hawaiian language was prohibited – by law – in public schools.  When the ban was removed in 1986, less than 50 speakers under the age of 18 remained.  Now, thanks in large part to ʻAha Pūnana Leo, that number has grown to almost 5,000.  With the new project and support of the Kellogg Foundation, the Aloha state can continue to celebrate native culture and the growth of the Hawaiian language speaking community.

 

To learn more, please visit ʻAha Pūnana Leo’s website.

 

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Aug 17, 2012
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A cab driver on a cultural mission

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If you hop in Pan Ching-hsiung’s cab in the Greater Kaohsiung area of Taiwan, you may get more than a cab ride.

Concerned for the fate of the native languages of Taiwan, Pan is handing out flyers and initiating discussions with passengers about the importance of perpetuating native languages.  He believes the promotion of Mandarin by the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is partly to blame for the decrease in use of native languages.

Beyond simply encouraging parents to speak their native tongue with their children, Pan is asking the Taiwanese Mother Language League to seek compensation from the KMT for the Mandarin-first policy that has led to native language decline.

To read more, check out this article in the Taipei Times.

And if you are interested in some indigenous music from Taiwan, check out Biung’s self-titled album “Biung.”  Biung is a member of the Bunan tribe.  I came across his album when discussing music with a young indigenous woman in Taipei.  She told me that many of the younger generation were not listening to, singing, or playing traditional, indigenous music.  Biung, already a popular musician,  took some of the traditional songs and put them to “modern” beats and instruments.  While some might argue that the songs done in this style are no longer “traditional,” the young woman told me that thanks to Biung, more younger people now know and sing these songs.

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Jul 30, 2012
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Cultural Survival and Smithsonian team up to host conference for Indigenous radio producers

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Cultural Survival has teamed up with the Smithsonian Institution’s Recovering Voices Initiative to host a conference in support of Indigenous radio and endangered language revitalization. The conference, “Our Voices on the Air: Reaching New Audiences Through Indigenous Radio,” will provide an opportunity for Indigenous radio producers from several countries – including Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and the United States – to come together with media professionals to share their experiences, ideas, and knowledge.

Some of the materials and ideas that emerge will be used by Cultural Survival to create a national radio series that will serve to shed light on the story of endangered languages worldwide, and the significance of Indigenous radio in the efforts to revitalize these languages.

The conference is being held July 31- August 2, 2012, at the National Museum of Natural History.  For more information and a detailed schedule of conference events, please visit Cultural Survival’s website.

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Jul 29, 2012
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The Hawaiian Newspaper Initiative

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Inmates at The Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) in Hawaii are assisting in efforts to sustain an important piece of Hawaiian history.  As part of “Ike Ku’oko’a”, a Hawaiian Newspaper Initiative, Hawaiian language newspapers from 1834 – 1948 are being transcribed and entered into a database.

Non-profit Awaiaulu Project Manager Kaui Sai-Dudoit explains, “By making the whole collection word-searchable, it will open up hundreds of thousands of pages worth of data on history, culture, politics, sciences, world view, and more.”

Inmates have the opportunity to reconnect with their roots while working on the project.  Project supporters believe that in reconnecting to the Hawaiian culture and history,  there is a chance for these women to heal from past traumas and build a more positive future.

To find out more about the Hawaiian Newspaper Initiative, check out this Hawaii Reporter article.  For those interested in volunteering, you may contact Awaiaulu Director Puakea Nogelmeier or Project Manager Kaui Sai-Dudoit at (808) 845-8918.  No Hawaiian language skills are required.

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Jun 30, 2012
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Raíces Cultural Center makes the eco-cultural connection

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Raíces Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization in New Brunswick, NJ, began as an after school program that aimed to promote and celebrate Caribbean culture.  It transformed into a cultural center, offering expanded cultural programming and activities, including a cultural exchange, archive, and performance ensemble.  Today, Raíces continues to celebrate and share Caribbean culture while also making the connection between cultural and environmental sustainability.

Last year, Raíces began growing organic gardens and donating produce to another local nonprofit, Elijah’s Promise.  In addition to the literal seeds the folks at Raíces are planting, they are also planting seeds of sustainability through programs and discussions that focus on sustainable practices, natural arts, and healthy leaving.

To learn more about Raíces, check out their website and a recent article by the New Brunswick Patch.

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Jun 24, 2012
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The future of a Hawaiian island in the hands of another billionaire

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When a house is sold, the neighbors may have some minor concerns about what type of person will be moving into their community.  But what happens when an entire island – or at least 98% of it – is sold?

The future of the Hawaiian island of Lanai now rests with its new owner, Larry Ellison.  How the culture and lives of the island community will be affected is unknown, and Ellison has yet to speak with the people of Lanai about his plans for his latest acquisition.

To read more about the sale of Lanai, check out the article What will billionaire CEO do with his Hawaiian island?

To hear some local Hawaii perspectives, read Civil Beat’s Goodbye Lanai.

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May 31, 2012
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Taking action to protect Native languages in Alaska

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“We know that without language preservation, a culture dies.”

These are words recently spoken by Alaska’s Governor Sean Parnell.  In an effort to protect and perpetuate the Native culture and languages of Alaska, he has signed SB 130, establishing an Alaska Native Language and Advisory Council.

KTOO News reported that the Council “will be charged with evaluating the state’s indigenous languages and making recommendations for preservation, restoration and revitalization.”  While these efforts are encouraging on many levels and are being supported by some Alaska Native organizations, such as Alaska Federation of Natives, the legislation also raises many questions.  Are there voices/Native organizations that do not support the legislation?  If so, what is their story?  Who will be chosen for the Council?  Do these choices have the potential to have negative/divisive impacts on the Native communities?

It will be interesting to see what results from the formation of the Council, the future actions they take, and powers they are – or are not – granted.

If you have any firsthand experience or thoughts on this issue – whether in Alaska or elsewhere – please post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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May 28, 2012
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Remembering Native American service on Memorial Day

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Often remembered for their contributions as “code talkers”, Native American men and woman have also served a lesser known but critical role of cultural educators. An interesting history of Native Americans in the military can be found in today’s article on Indian Country Today Media Network.

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May 27, 2012
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Indigenous radio station – and rights – raided in Guatemala

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Earlier this month, the Uqul Tinamit radio station was raided by police.  In spite of Indigenous Peoples’ right to their own media, as guaranteed by article 16 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the radio station was shut down, the volunteer on air at the time was arrested, and station equipment was confiscated.

Indigenous radio has been an important source of information and entertainment, while contributing to the perpetuation of Indigenous languages and culture in Guatemala.  The recent raid is disheartening and in direct conflict with basic human rights and freedom of expression.

You can learn more about the Community Radio Project, the recent raid, and the community’s reaction.

To speak up in support of Indigenous radio and rights, and against the raids, you can send an email to the President of Guatemala by completing the form here.

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Apr 29, 2012
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MACS student represents at Miss Indian World Pageant

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Congratulations is in order for MACS student, Joanne Naniki Morales.  This weekend she represented the United Confederation of Taino People of Puerto Rico, and won!  Joanne placed second out of the 27 contestants who competed for the title of Miss Indian World.  She was awarded 1st Runner-up, after displaying her archery talent and speaking out on the platform of embracing indigenous/mixed youth.  I look forward to following Joanne’s journey, as she continues to sustain and share her culture.  I hope you will join me in congratulating her on her most recent accomplishment!

To learn more about the pageant and see photos from the event, check out the Gathering of Nations website.

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Goucher's MA in Cultural Sustainability provides students with the training to identify, protect, enhance and work effectively with communities around what makes them unique: their traditions, ways of life, cherished spaces, and vital relationships to each other and the world. Read More

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