Prince Charles's charities work to undo past wrongs against Indigenous people through reconciliation
When the Prince of Wales visits Canada this week to celebrate the country's 150th birthday, his charitable organization hopes to leave a legacy behind him that addresses some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. Miriam Katawazi explains the work Prince's Charities Canada is doing to promote Indigenous languages, job creation and nutrition.
(Three of SayITFirsts books are featured in the article)
Years ago Prince Charles created a children’s story for his younger brothers, Andrew and Edward, who were bored during a vacation to the royal family’s Scottish home of Balmoral. Called The Old Man of Lochnagar, it tells the tale of a grumpy Old Man who retreats into a cave, only to discover it’s an entrance to the Gorm pixie world. Published in 1980, with watercolour illustrations by Hugh Casson, it was an instant classic.
Now, nearly 40 years later, the tale has been re-imagined and published in Inuktitut, thanks to Mike Parkhill of SayITFirst, an organization that seeks to promote Indigenous languages by creating children’s books in languages ranging from Mi’Kmaw and Malisette to Woodlands Cree and Southern Tutchone.
The First Nations University has partnered with Prince’s Charities Canada to launch Indigenous-language children’s books in Saskatchewan.
Written by SayITFirst Inc. and translated by the First Nations University faculty and alumni, the books aim to revitalize Cree languages through youth.
The five books – written in Swampy, Woods, and Plains Cree dialects – are aimed at children aged four to eight. The books target significant childhood development topics and bring up key lessons that are relevant to both children and adults.
The First Nations University of Canada is working with Prince's Charities Canada to help revitalize Indigenous languages in Saskatchewan.
The project has had five Indigenous language children's books written by SayITFirst Inc. published.
The books were translated and edited by university faculty and alumni. The five books were written in Cree dialects of Swampy, Woods and Plain, and are targeted at children from the ages of four to eight.
Read the entire article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/cree-books-first-nations-university-of-canada-1.4021228
The Royal Visit to the Yukon has left a lasting impact for students of the Dusk’a Head Start Family Learning Centre, where 29 children received laptops and books from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Canada, the Prince’s Charities of Canada and TD Bank Group.
Read the entire article: http://nationtalk.ca/story/royal-visit-has-lasting-impact-for-indigenous-students-in-the-yukon
By Sarah Peterson, CBC News
Mike Parkhill is determined to help save Indigenous languages from disappearing. And last week, he received a meritorious service medal from the Governor General for his efforts. "It's more of a calling. It's not even a job," the Halifax man said Monday. "It's something I couldn't turn off."
Mike Parkhill, founder of SayITFirst, receives the Honour of the Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division) from His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. SayITFirst is an organization dedicated to helping First Nation communities and Elders breathe new life into Canada’s Native languages. Mike has shown commitment to supporting minority cultures to take ownership in rebuilding their self identity.
The Meritorious Service Decorations celebrate Canadians who have performed an exceptional deed or activity that brings honour to Canada. The Civil Division recognizes remarkable contributions in many different fields of endeavour. The contributions can be innovative, set an example for others to follow, or improve the quality of life of a community.
In 2009, Mike Parkhill left a senior position at Microsoft Canada to tackle a fundamental social and educational issue: revitalizing dying First Nations languages in Canada. His interest began with a Microsoft project to modernize the Inuktitut language. When Mike learned about his ability to make a difference supporting marginalized sectors, his interest became a full-time passion by founding SayITFirst. Mr. Parkhill was also awarded the Order of Ontario in January of this year in recognition of the work of SayITFirst http://www.sayitfirst.ca.
“I have always supported the underdog throughout my personal and professional lives.” When I became witness to the tenacity of Indigenous people and the challenges they were facing, I needed to stop what I was doing and apply my knowledge to help. Deep down, I had no choice. My friends have taken that help and made it their own."
Mike's work has supported the work of others to change the paradigm of what is possible, using technology to aid a new generation in developing their own self-identity. Studies show that building self-identity at an early age can proactively protect against teenage suicides, truancy, gang activity and substance abuse.
The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, bestowed the honour to the new appointees during an investiture ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. The event was streamed live online at http://www.gg.ca on July 13 and was also broadcast live on Eastlink TV.
For more information about SayITFirst, contact Mike Parkhill
Mike Parkhill, SayITFirst and Brent Tookenay, CEO of Seven Generations institute
Press Release: Mike Parkhill of SayITFirst Appointed to Order of Ontario
The Independent Free Press: Former Georgetown resident receives Order of Ontario
The Halifax Chronicle Herald: Bittersweet honour for SayITFirst for FIrst Nations language tool
Mike Parkhill, President of SayITFirst, dedicated to supporting First Nations initiatives in revitalizing native languages, recently of Georgetown now living in Halifax, is invested into the Order of Ontario on January 20th, 2016.
Mary Ito, Fresh Air CBC Radio Interview
While at Microsoft Canada in the role of Director, Academic Sector, Mike worked with the Government of Nunavut and the Pirurvik Centre to modernize over 860,000 words and phrases in the Inuktitut Language.
Upon completion of Inuktitut versions of Microsoft Windows and Office, the Minister of Culture and Heritage awarded Microsoft Canada with a gift noting their exemplary work to help in keeping the Inuktitut language vibrant. Mike Parkhill from SayITFirst accepted the award on behalf of Microsoft Canada.
PPC works with existing Canadian charities and facilitates new opportunities for charitable organizations in Canada and the U.K. to work together.
SayITFirst is honoured to be among the Aboriginal Initiatives supported by the Prince’s Charities in Canada.
Investing in Indigenous youth through the provision of technology, professional development for educators and community engagement initiatives. To date, OLPC Canada has provided more than 4000 Indigenous youth with laptops and tablets in rural, remote and urban communities across the country.
SayITFirst educational materials such as Native language books and language learning tools are donated for pre-installation on OLPC devices and servers.
To learn more: http://www.olpccanada.com/
The decline of indigenous languages is part of the tragic legacy of Canada's residential school system. Mike Parkhill, founder of indigenous language advocacy website SayitFirst.ca, and Brent Tookenay, CEO of Seven Generations Educational Institute, are working together to change the tide. They join The Agenda in the Summer to discuss how technology and community can help revitalize indigenous languages.
Mike Parkhill, founder of sayITFirst, interviewed on AMI Accessible Media Inc. on July 21, 2016. “Language is the tool we use to build self identity in aboriginal youth.”
Prince William and Kate to deliver book written in rare native tongue to indigenous children.
At a Yukon event next week, the royal couple will distribute picture books written in Southern Tutchone, a threatened language. The children's book by author Mike Parkhill that has been translated into the indigenous language of Southern Tutchone.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will arrive in Canada next week bearing a simple gift that could go a long way toward helping preserve a threatened native language.
According to the most recent census data, only 200 or so people are able to speak Southern Tutchone, one of eight native tongues still in use by indigenous people in Yukon, where Prince William and Kate Middleton will visit next week.
The reality is more bleak. Members of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, near Whitehorse, say that only about 50 elders and less than a dozen younger people are capable of holding a conversation in the language. “It’s challenging because we do have fewer and fewer speakers. As time goes by, our elders are passing away too, so it’s a scary situation,” said Sean Smith, a band councillor.
During the royal couple’s visit to the city, in an event scheduled for Wednesday, they will be armed with a strong and symbolic message carried within the deceptively simple covers of a children’s book about William the Moose.
SIF native language children¹s books are funded by Prince¹s Charities, Canada as an extension of a FNEII project originally sponsored by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Aboriginal Languages Initiative.
There are only 1,000 people in the world who have some knowledge of the Southern Tutchone language, says André Bourcier, acting director of the Yukon Native Language Centre in Whitehorse. There are eight languages in the territory, including Southern Tutchone, spoken to some degree by an estimated 10,000 people. “These are endangered languages,” the linguist says. For Southern Tutchone, while 1,000 have some knowledge, only an estimated 500 can speak it and of those, just 200 know enough to maintain a conversation.
Continue reading the full Maclean's article: http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/how-to-preserve-indigenous-languages-for-the-next-generation/
Kate Middleton couldn't help but break out into gales of laughter after hearing a children's story about William the Moose.
The young royals were in a museum during a trip to Whitehorse, in North West Canada's Yukon region. They sat down on a log to join the schoolchildren for a story telling session with ‘Grandma’ Lorraine Allen who translated the book.
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were mobbed today when practically an entire Canadian town turned out to cheer them.
The royal couple were given a rock star welcome as thousands lined the streets of remote Whitehorse in the Yukon.
Read the entire Evening Standard article: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/prince-william-and-kate-receive-rock-star-welcome-as-royal-couple-are-mobbed-in-canadian-town-of-a3356626.html