VIU Research Will Inspire Youth to Preserve Culture and Protect Salmon

Dr. Georgina Martin is excited to launch the project, We Will Survive if the Salmon Survive

January 16, 2019 - 10:00am

Having the opportunity to go back to her community as a scholar to support the development of programs to preserve her language and culture is exciting to Vancouver Island University (VIU) Indigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies Professor Dr. Georgina Martin

Martin has been awarded a $50,000 dollar Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant for her project We will survive if the Salmon Survive.  

“The preservation of the salmon is essential for the Secwepemc (Shuswap) peoples’ food sustenance and traditional practices,” says Dr. Georgina Martin. “Without the development of future stewards, both the salmon and the Secwepemc culture are threatened. Our language is nearing extinction.” 

The project is a partnership with Bev Sellars, Xat’sūll (Soda Creek First Nation) and Jean William, T'exelc (Williams Lake Indian Band). William, Sellars, and Martin bring to the project their innate cultural knowledge, as well as their professional and lived-experiences.

The intent of the project is to investigate the concept and creation of a Secwepemc youth program to demonstrate the importance of protecting the Fraser River and the salmon.

Through outreach activities, the program will teach youth about the land, water, customs and their language.  

“It’s bringing youth and Elders together,” says Dr. Martin. “It is a long term plan where the youth will connect with the wisdom holders or the knowledge keepers in the community, who will impart to the youth the cultural practices and traditional knowledge of five Secwepemc communities; the Stswecem'c /Xgat'tem (Canoe Creek, Dog Creek), Xat’sūll (Soda & Deep Creek), T’exelc (Williams Lake a.k.a. Sugar Cane), Esk’etemc (Alkali Lake) and High Bar First Nations. Our goal is to inspire our youth to take a lead and be active participants in learning the language.” 

The We Will Survive if the Salmon Survive project is an opportunity to broaden Aboriginal research with other communities and contribute to the growth of Indigenous research methodologies across disciplines throughout Canada. 

Dr. Nicole Vaugeois, VIU Associate Vice-President, Scholarship, Research & Creative Activity is excited that Martin received the SSHRC Connection Grant.

“VIU has a deep commitment to applied and community-engaged research. This project will foster mutually respectful relationships and further our capacity to respectfully engage with Indigenous ways of knowing and support community-based learning.” 




Annette Lucas, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

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Tags: community | First Nations | Indigenous | Research | Teaching and Learning

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