FirstVoices: FirstVoices

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FirstVoices is a suite of web-based tools and services designed to support Aboriginal people engaged in language archiving, language teaching and culture revitalization.


June 18, 2012
New App enables Indigenous language speakers to text in their languages
Brentwood Bay, B.C. – FirstVoices Chat, an Indigenous language texting app for Facebook Chat and Google Talk, is now available at the Apple App Store as a free download for iPad, iTouch and iPhone. The app contains custom keyboards for hundreds of Indigenous languages in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The app can be downloaded from:
“We’re excited to launch this new piece of technology, which allows First Nations people to return to the everyday use of their heritage languages using their mobile devices,” said Peter Brand, FirstVoices Manager at the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. “The primary audience for the new app is First Nations youth, but we expect the positive effects of these innovative literacy tools to ripple out to speakers and learners of all ages.”
FirstVoices Chat was developed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council with funding from the First Nations Technology Council. “The First Nations Technology Council is thrilled to participate in the development of a tool that contributes to First Nations language revitalization by enabling their use in daily conversations,” said Norm Leech, Executive Director of the FNTC. The development of the keyboarding technology at the core of FirstVoices Chat was funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Aboriginal Languages Initiative.
Samantha Etzel, one of eight SENĆOŦEN language apprentices at the LÁU,WELNEW Tribal School in Brentwood Bay, B.C. says, “It is exciting when my daughter asks me to text words to her in our language. To have the technology at our fingertips adds to ways of learning for our community members who live off-reserve, but still have a desire to learn.”
FirstVoices Chat had a high profile introduction in Vancouver on February 24. Their Honours Lieutenant Governor Steven Point and his wife Gwendolyn, long-time language champions of the Sto:lo First Nation, exchanged their first text message in their Halq’eméylem language before several hundred delegates at the First Nations Technology Council ICT Summit.
Media Contact:
Susan De Stephanis The First Peoples’ Cultural Council (250) 652-5952 ext. 216

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Modern city rises up out of Siberia’s oil-rich peat bogs

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Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, right, speaks with CEO of state-controlled Russian oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin during a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia this month. A small region of Siberia has become important to the Russia’s energy plans.

AP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev, Pool


Khanti-Mansiysk has twice as much oil as Libya, and accounts for more than half of giant Russia’s entire production. It’s only “small” by Siberian standards; if it were in the US it would be the third largest state, after Texas. If it were an independent country, it would probably be the richest per capita on earth, since its entire population amounts to just 1.5 million people.

In Soviet times this usually frigid land of peat bogs, lakes, and taiga (Siberian boreal forest) was largely a vast oil-pumping zone. The nominally autonomous Khantys and Mansis indigenous people largely remained in their traditional lives of hunting, fishing, and reindeer herding, while teams of temporary petroleum workers left little behind but vast tracts of oil-polluted taiga. Photographs of the regional capital, also named Khanti-Mansiysk, from as recently as the 1970s show little more than a big cluster of wooden buildings – constructed by political prisoners who started the settlement in the 1930s – connected by wooden walkways and divided by dirt streets.

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Watercross long lake yellowknife NT

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Crossing Long Lake on a snowmobile, Yellowknife, NT…

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Range Lake, Yellowknife

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, I will take everyone back to May 8, 2012. With not a great deal of shooting being done in the weeks before early May, I decide I better get out and make some images. With camera in hand I wandered outside and onto the Range Lake Trail. The trail runs behind my home so it is a pretty easy and short trip to make. In early May most of the lakes in the area still have some ice on them but, the ducks and birds are still arriving for spring. The mosquitos have also started to arrive, lol. I don’t travel far from my backyard and I don’t really need to as there is always something to shoot on the trail. I believe my outing only took a total of one hour and fifteen minutes. I captured quite a few images. The ones I am posting here I hope will give you an idea of the trail and what can be seen while hiking along it’s relatively short length. Here are the images. Enjoy, thanks for continuing to visit and as always Happy Shooting.


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Headlines for Yellowknifer for June 27th 2012

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Hitting the water. First-timers and long-timers love fishing and natural surroundings

City defers election bylaw. New rules could force candidates to disclose campaign contributions

Longtime NWT magistrate retires. ‘So much has changed in 40 years,’ says Supreme Court judge ‘Ted’ Richard

Forest fire burns near highway. Lightning strikes and dry conditions put fire crews on alert


Putting the X in democracy. Enticing voters to come to the polls relies heavily on communications

Northern charity a source of pride.


Solstice weekend heats up. Salsa dancing and beer bring people to their feet


Trick shots at tournament. Golf pro and NHL player entertain audience at annual Midnight Sun event


Quiznos opening at airport. Owner of Old Airport Road restaurant plans Saturday debut of second location

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Travel guide to Canada’s Northwest Territories

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Discover the incredible beauty of this vast Canadian wilderness.


In the local language of Inuktitut, the Northwest Territories are called Nunatsiag, which traslates into “beautiful land.” To truly understand the origins of its name, however, you must witness its breathtaking beauty first-hand.

There are few places in the world that offer natural landscapes on such an immense scale.

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Canadian Medical Association | Media alert – Canada’s doctors to focus on health gaps at CMA’s annual meeting in Yellowknife

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Physicians from across Canada will converge in Yellowknife this August 12 to 15 to discuss health equity and how to address health gaps within the population. The Canadian Medical Association’s 145th annual meeting will kick off with Sir Michael Marmot, a world-renowned advocate for health equity and groundbreaking researcher on the social determinants of health.In keeping with this year’s General Council theme, Best Care. Best Health. Best Value. From Consensus to Action, Canada’s doctors will continue to advance health care transformation and explore the physician’s role in health equity. Other highlights include discussions on achieving health care sustainability by increasing efficiency and on the future federal role in health care.

The Media Guide to CMA’s General Council is now available online at: . ….

For further information:

Lucie Boileau
Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach, Canadian Medical Association
Tel.: 1-800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266 Cell: 613.447.0866

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“The Hunter Artist, Tim Pitsiulak of Cape Dorset, Nunavut” by Sarah Milroy | The Walrus | July 2012

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The Hunter Artist

In Cape Dorset, Nunavut, a new generation is redefining Inuit art, preserving northern traditions as it adapts to southern ways of life. One of these artists is Tim Pitsiulak

By Sarah Milroy

· Photography and artworks by Tim Pitsiulak

Visual Art · From the July/August 2012 magazine


Artmaking in Cape Dorset has prehistoric roots, from nomadic Inuit who expressed their refined aesthetic sensibilities for millennia in tiny carvings, toggles, and amulets in bone and ivory — objects that connected them to the spiritual realm and to the animals they hunted — and in the striking textile appliqués with which the women adorned traditional clothing. These designs inspired adventurer James Houston to persuade the Canadian government to fund a pilot project in Cape Dorset in the 1950s, encouraging carving on a larger scale, and introducing Japanese-style printmaking to a people who were just beginning to move into fixed settlements. By 1960, Houston was moving on, the mantle of leadership was passed to Terry Ryan, and Kinngait was placed under the direction of the newly created West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, one of many such co-ops set up across the North under the direction of Inuit leaders.

For Inuit, the co-ops provided employment and hope, but Ottawa had its own reasons for encouraging permanent settlements. The Cold War had charged the Arctic politically, making it a buffer zone between Communism and democracy. Conscription of the nomadic Inuit into fixed communities enabled the federal government to assert the existence of an Indigenous population in the region, even if that citizenry was to be identified by tracking numbers. In the span of a few decades, the nomadic way of life was lost, and Canada’s claim on the North was secured.

Meanwhile, the country was looking to brand itself at home and abroad, and Inuit art became the iconography. Ookpiks and inukshuks were sold in airports and gift shops from coast to coast. Inuit prints graced our stamps; Kenojuak’s The Enchanted Owl, on the 1970 six-cent stamp, was embraced as a signifier of our identity as an emerging nation, with accents both primeval and modern. Inuit carvings served as the stuff of corporate ritual among Bay Street qallunaat, who swapped bulk-buy soapstone dancing bears and walruses at closing dinners.

Some of this art was outstanding: Kenojuak’s rapturous depictions of animals and supernatural beings; or Kananginak Pootoogook’s renderings of caribou and other creatures, works that vividly capture the specific characteristics of each species. Some of this art, however, was repetitive and formulaic. Still, markets expanded at home and internationally, directors of the West Baffin Co-op came and went (James Houston; Terry Ryan, whose forty-eight years of service ended in 2008; and a succession of other white managers), but the experiment has remained the same: to broker a relationship between a south enraptured by the “idea of North” (to borrow Glenn Gould’s famous phrase), and an Inuit community struggling to find its way forward and maintain its cultural identity. The resulting phenomenon is unique: with a population of 1,363, Cape Dorset may be the only community in the world where art constitutes the leading industry.

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Mildred Hall Elementary School, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

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Published on Jun 13, 2012 by IndigoLOR

Mildren Hall received $90,000 from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Literacy Fund in 2010. Their current budget allows 1 book for every child. This grant will allow them to purchase 30 books for every student so they can transform the library and children’s lives over the next three years.

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Frozen Eyes Photographic Society in Norman Wells NWT

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Frozen Eyes Photographic Society
in Norman Wells Northwest Territories

Photos taken and copyright by the following – Kevin Kivi, Konrad Grandjambe, Heather Pope, Joshua Rose, Siobhan Quigg, Abby Small, Laura Wall, Cora Mccoy, Tamara McDonald, Shara Rose, Christine Desjarlais, Nate Greggy, Dakota Miller, Hunter Gray, Madi Gray, Nigel Gregory and Emily Barta

Instructors, George Lessard and Pablo Saravanja

Thanks to
Renee Closs, Principal
Thomas Aikiman

very special thanks
Heritage Hotel
James W. Ulch (867) 587-5000
The NWT Arts Council
and BHP Billiton

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