Our flagship publication continues to thrive and expand. In this twentieth anniversary year, we decided to “go back to our roots” with a two-part “Voices of the Earth” theme. In 1996, we chose the name Terralingua to suggest two things at once: the language of the Earth—the voice of Mother Nature; and the languages of the Earth—the many voices of the world’s diverse peoples, which have evolved through intimate interaction with the Earth in each specific place. We wanted to hear from and about the Voices of the Earth, and so we did! The two Volume 5 issues brim with fascinating stories and images of biocultural diversity from all over the globe. The Table of Contents, Editorial, and other free content for each issue are found at:
As an attractive and thoughtful vehicle for the dissemination of biocultural ideas, Langscape continues to gain readership, and has begun reaching University libraries, giving access to vast student and faculty bodies. Subscriptions to PDF + Print or PDF only are available at https://www.terralinguaubuntu.org/Langscape/home.htm. Please recommend the magazine to potentially interested readers and institutions!
Celebrating Terralingua’s Twentieth
We couldn’t think of a better way to mark our twentieth anniversary than to ask two of the key actors in Terralingua’s story to write retrospective articles on the rise and motivation of the biocultural diversity “movement”. The result: a two-part “Biocultural Diversity at Twenty” Special Feature that appeared in Volume 5 (2016) of our Langscape Magazine. David Harmon, co-founder of Terralingua in 1996, mused on “Biocultural Diversity: Reason, Ethics, and Emotion” in the Summer issue of the magazine. Ken Wilson, former Director of The Christensen Fund and a long-time Terralingua friend and supporter, reflected on “Flourishing at Twenty: On Context and Foundations in the Rise of the Concept of Biocultural Diversity” in the Winter issue. Both of these outstanding articles are available on Terralingua’s website for everyone to read.
For another take on biocultural diversity and the origins of Terralingua, you may also want to take a look at the “On the job” interview with Luisa Maffi, co-founder and Director of Terralingua, that appeared in the Ramsar Culture Network Update in July 2016, at http://www.ramsar.org/on-the-job-interview-with-luisa-maffi-co-founder-and-director-of-terralingua.
This year, we continued our collaboration with the Saanich and Tsilhqot’in First Nations in British Columbia (BC), Canada—two of the Indigenous communities with whom we have worked in this project, which focuses on the documentation and revitalization of Indigenous oral traditions and traditional knowledge.
During the summer, in collaboration with our sister organization The Cultural Conservancy of San Francisco, California, we organized a video training workshop for youth from both First Nations, held on the Saanich Tribal School campus near Victoria, BC. The workshop provided the youth with video documentation skills relevant to recording oral traditions and to language and culture revitalization. It included storytelling, a behind-the-scene visit to Saanich and Tsilhqot’in artifacts at the Royal BC Museum, a field trip to a wetland restoration project on Saanich traditional territory, and a rare opportunity for an inter-cultural exchange between the two communities.
Youth from both communities showed great appreciation for this experience and growing commitment to working on language and culture documentation and revitalization. The two groups are now able to apply their video skills to their respective documentary projects. For the Saanich, the focus is on filming relevant to their school’s language and culture revitalization programs. The Tsilhqot’in filmed an Elders’ gathering that took place in their territory in late summer, whose aim was to explore their ancestral philosophy for caring for the land. Planning is now underway for a second video training workshop in Tsilhqot’in country, to take place in January, which will focus on learning actual film production and editing.
We look forward to continuing these and other partnerships with Indigenous communities on the vital task of reawakening their languages, cultures, and land-based traditional knowledge. Please consider donating in support of this project! If you wish, you can earmark your donation for “Voices of the Earth”.
We are nearing completion of the first phase of this project, which aims to develop innovative educational curriculum on biocultural diversity for high schools, centered on a set of core lessons complemented by a variety of case studies from all over the world.
In the past two decades, Terralingua has had a major role in establishing and promoting the concept of biocultural diversity in research, practice, and policy. In recent years, we have increasingly focused on education and outreach, through our three current projects, which complement and enhance one another. Voices of the Earth connects us to the on-the-ground realities of Indigenous communities and their efforts to maintain and revitalize their languages, cultures, and links to the land. Langscape Magazine and the BCDEI allow us to bring our educational message to an increasingly broader audience around the world.
We are deeply grateful to the many individuals, organizations, and foundations that have believed in and supported our work, and who continue to encourage us in the pursuit of the life-affirming mission we gave ourselves in 1996. Our sense of purpose and determination are no less strong now than when we moved our first steps twenty years ago.