Project to use virtual reality technology to teach Nisga’a culture and language

January 13, 2021
A new project called Raising Nisga’a Language, Sovereignty, and Land-based Education Through Traditional Carving Knowledge is using virtual reality technology to teach Nisga’a culture and language. The multi-year, three-part project involves the development of language learning through virtual reality, the carving of new house totem poles, and repatriation of a house totem pole from a museum in Edinburgh, Scotland. “I think the language revitalization component is really important for us to continue trying to spark the interest and the commitment of our future generations of youth to learn our language and to engage in that,” said University of British Columbia Assistant Professor and Nisga’a researcher Dr Amy Parent. “I see VR as one tool that can hopefully spark their imagination and their drive to either continue their language or begin learning.” Collaborator Nisga’a Elder Jerry Adams told CBC that the virtual reality component will be particularly important for urban youth, who will not have to leave where they live to participate. “It makes my heart just feel really good that [the language] is coming back and we’re not losing who we are as Nisga’a,” said Adams. CBC (BC)