There are many benefits to working in an education library including reading many great books and working with some leading edge technology. Once you are immersed in the collection, sometimes you find special interests that merit some study. For me, I am always on the look out for ways that the indigenous people of Canada bolster the connection between young people and the elders of these communities.
The importance of keeping the language and the stories of the past alive with younger generations and the capturing of these narratives in their original language is essential to begin the healing and to grow a strong future.
There is a powerful digital world out there that can be harnessed to capture these stories and connect indigenous communities together.
The New Smoke Signals: Communicating in a Digital World by Rachel Mishenene is a small but powerful book that links the indigenous world to the digital world in a easy, uncomplicated way. The book has a variety of information in it. She says, “First Nation, Inuit and Metis people across the country have embraced this relatively new way of communicating with each other, learning new things and preserving the old teachings.” (p.5) And so begins a look at modern technology like cellphones, social media like LinkedIn and blogs, to help tell the stories that are important to indigenous communities. I especially liked the example of the blog, where a free-lance writer named Stan reflects on the life of his aunt in a blog post after she passes away. Contained within this section are the reasons someone would blog and the fact that most blogs are read in the morning along with a complete reprint of Stan’s tribute story about his aunt.
This book is from a small publisher called Ningwakwe Learning Press (www.ningwakwe.ca) but does a fine job of bridging the gap between young and old indigenous people.