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Assessing the Vitality of Arctic Indigenous Languages - Research Development Workshops


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Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

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Science / project summary

The Arctic is a locus of change. Researchers, governments and indigenous communities are coming together to seek evidence-based responses to ongoing environmental, cultural, social, political and economic changes. Language vitality is integrally intertwined with all aspects of changing Arctic societies. The Assessing the Vitality of Arctic Indigenous Languages research development workshops establish a platform for an indigenous-led, Arctic state-supported, and academically anchored circumpolar collaboration seeking to understand and respond to communities? goals for the future of their languages. The workshops provide an opportunity for indigenous peoples, academics, policy makers and practitioners to share what they are already doing in Arctic language assessment and promotion. Stakeholders will discuss needs, opportunities and parameters for working together. The specific workshop objectives are to: 1. Establish a research network for the assessment of the vitality of Arctic indigenous languages, including representatives of Arctic states, indigenous peoples' organizations, academic researchers, language policy-makers, programmers and activists. 2. Develop a shared, indigenous-driven and academically grounded method (or methods) for research into the vitality of Arctic indigenous languages, with mechanisms and protocols for inter-agency and international collaboration. 3. Plan for the dissemination of reliable and comparable data about the status of all Arctic languages in a centralized, accessible format; facilitate local, regional, and international sharing of best practices in addressing Arctic indigenous language vitality. The workshops will bridge academic and indigenous discourses and methodologies, establishing an acceptable research methodology for assessing indigenous language vitality. Development of shared frameworks and methodologies will lay the foundation for collection and dissemination of comparable pan-Arctic data, needed for further comparisons, analysis, and ultimately better understandings of how communities' goals (e.g. for balanced bilingualism) may best be achieved. Establishing indigenously driven research collaborations between Arctic indigenous groups and academic researchers will build the capacity of both to develop and implement research projects which address the needs of indigenous communities. Circumpolar collaboration under the auspices of the Arctic Council and led by the Inuit Circumpolar Council provides insight into how such international bodies may contribute to language planning for indigenous languages.