Dr. Lorna Williams
Lorna Williams is one of our heroes. Her tenacious work to strengthen and preserve indigenous culture, to create schools where indigenous ways of knowing are part of the fabric of the curriculum and of every child’s experience, her generosity in sharing her knowledge and her wisdom so freely with our grad students, with us, with international colleagues and with everyone in the Network – these are but a few reasons why we are so deeply indebted to Lorna.
Lorna has been able to help countless teachers tap into their own sense of humanity and to deepen their sensitivity to others. She has helped to teach us the importance of language and culture – and to understand the impact when people of any age are denied their language. She has had the patience to answer many of the questions that we have – about language, culture, Aboriginal life, and what we as settler educators can do to strengthen education for Aboriginal young people.
Last week saw the launch of the Endangered Languages Project, a website that allows users to archive audio, video and written information about the world’s rarest languages and dialects. The project could prove a boon to cultural preservation in Canada, where dozens of aboriginal languages are at risk of fading away. Dr. Williams is the chair of the First Peoples Cultural Council and deserves much credit for making this happen. Through a partnership with Google, many endangered languages may be preserved in a way no one might have thought possible a few years ago. Please check out the website, read the press release and consider the ways in which we can all support this critically important work.