From 2015 to 2017, visitors to the Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices exhibit at the Royal BC Museum submitted comment cards about their experiences at the exhibition. Comments were given in 72 languages by visitors from B.C., Canada and around the world.
The comments we received were overwhelmingly positive about language revitalization work, the exhibition itself and Indigenous language champions. Some of the themes expressed included:
- Gratitude to see Indigenous languages featured prominently in the museum.
- Motivation by visitors to examine their own language history and to investigate the languages connected to their family history, both by those who identified as Indigenous and those who did not.
- Support for language advocates and those working to revitalize languages.
- Pride among Indigenous visitors to see their languages in action and being shared to educate others about the importance of language in their culture.
- Thankfulness to have learned something new about Indigenous languages in B.C.
Language revitalization efforts featured in the exhibition were also viewed as a positive source of decolonization, reconciliation and empowerment for Indigenous people. We have detailed some of the comment card responses in a short report summarizing the feedback.
Visitor Feedback by the Numbers:
- 5,044 comments over 3 years
- From visitors aged 2-77
- From across Canada and 57 other countries
- Written in 60 languages including English and 12 B.C. Indigenous language
We are encouraged by these comments and proud that Our Living Languages has proven to be a valued tool for sharing the remarkable story of the richness, beauty, diversity and resilience of First Nations languages in B.C. and the efforts to revitalize them. This feedback demonstrates powerful support for the importance of language revitalization work and for Indigenous language teachers and learners.
About the Project
Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in B.C. is an award-winning interactive language exhibition developed in partnership with the Royal BC Museum to showcase the diversity and resilience of the 34 First Nations languages in British Columbia and the communities working to ensure their revitalization. The exhibition opened on June 21, 2014 and has become a permanent feature at the museum at the entrance to the First Peoples gallery. We encourage everyone to experience the Our Living Languages exhibition. If you are unable to come in person you can visit the online virtual exhibition.