Supported in partnership with Dr. Mark Turin and students from FNEL 489H, UBC students partnered with the Heiltsuk First Nation in Bella Bella, specifically the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre’s ( HCEC) where they spent 120 hours on a series of Heiltsuk language and information organization related projects. The project was developed to contribute to the ongoing organization of the Centre's collections with an eye towards the use of material in language programs and for other community driven initiatives. The Centre had created and compiled an extensive collection of analogue and digital resources and materials and was seeking support through this project to mobilize access to and use of these materials through new and emerging technologies.
Highlights and Outcomes:
A story from one of the students participating:
Kim Lawson, Heiltsuk community member and Reference Librarian at UBC’s Xwi7xwa Library, was our mentor. The staff at HCEC, William Housty (Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department Board Chair), Jess Housty (curator of the Thistalalh Memorial Library), as well as the principal and teachers who work in language and cultural programs at the Bella Bella Community School were also generous with their time. Throughout the week we were particularly fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from Jennifer Carpenter, a Heiltsuk community member, scholar and Director of the HCEC.
The Centre has created and compiled an extensive collection of analogue and digital resources and materials, and we envision future work could focus largely on community grounded information organization systems that can support the needs of teachers, community members and the goals of HCEC.For us, this experience was not simply an opportunity to connect what we have learned in SLAIS within the complexities of a ‘real-world’ setting. We were provided a supportive and welcoming space to think about what we might be able to contribute as new professionals and how the information field might shift commonly accepted practices to better support projects of a similar nature moving forward. Reflecting on our time spent in Bella Bella we are very thankful for the opportunity to make new friends, to contribute our skills where appropriate, and to learn from the good work undertaken by Heiltsuk community members.