Our Roots Our Future

CC licensed, Steven Burke.

This week the Sudbury CBC radio programs Morning North and Points North are running a series called Our Roots: Our Future.  This series is focusing on the history of immigration in Sudbury.  Despite having lived in Sudbury for awhile, I had no conception of the diverse cultural past of the city’s residents.

So far the series has included segments on: 

Well worth a listen if you’re interested in local history or immigration patterns.

100@100: Profiles of Centenarians

The Current on CBC has an interesting ongoing feature this year, which focuses on centenarians in Canada.  The program 100@100 aims to speak to 100 Canadians over 100 years old in 2011.   The program seems to have slowed down for the summer, but the Current has managed to speak with 29 centenarians so far. So unless the pace picks up greatly I’m not entirely sure the goal of recording 100 centenarians will be met. 

I was initially drawn to this program as it allows people from all walks of life participate in oral history.  The program also presents the memories and stories of the participants in a manner that is reminiscent of a Grandparent sharing experience.  It also emphasizes the importance of recording personal and family histories before all memories are lost.  Overall, its a great program if your interested in Canada’s oral history.

Legends Project

The Legends Project began in 2002 as a small CBC initiative in Iqaluit, Nunavut to record, archive, and create radio dramas of the oral traditions of Inuit and First Nation communities in Canada. Eventually these oral stories and dramatizations were played on CBC Radio in both English and their original Indigenous language.

Currently, the project has eleven segments, each of which highlights the unique culture and language of a distinct community. In addition to being broadcast nationally the Legends Project allows for a high quality recording of endangered languages and traditions to be preserved. Each segment is a unique mixture of English and indigenous language and song, and provides a unique look into traditional practices of a community.

The most recent segment of the Project focuses on the traditions of the Ahtahkakoop, a Plains Cree nation in Sandy Lake, Saskatchewan. This segment highlights the linguistic, cultural, and social struggles of members of the Ahtahkakoop. It also retells a number of the community’s traditional stories about creation, family, respect, and survival.

Virtual Mourning Reexamined

Ages ago I wrote a post on Virtual Dark Tourism which examined the idea of virtual graveyards and the rise of on-line memorials. A Spark podcast recently brought the issue of ‘virtual mourning’ back to my mind. I recommend listening to the brief portion of the podcast which discusses virtual mourning and the impact which technology has had upon the way in which we express empathy.

The idea of technology changing the mourning experience, got me thinking about the way in which technology has impacted commemoration and historical memorials. It is now easier than ever to view historical monuments and memorials on-line. For example, you can take a virtual tour of the Juno Beach Center. This tour is fairly similar to most on-line virtual tours of museums and cultural centers, with the added layer of emphasis on remembering the contributions of Canadian soldiers during WWII. Is the on-line tour as striking as the physical memorial/center? Of course not. But, it does provide a glimpse into the ongoing commemoration of Juno Beach and allows people who will not have opportunity to visit Normandy a glimpse into the center.

How does an on-line presence fit into commemoration? Given the ability to enhance accessibility and to raise awareness through the use of digital mediums, historical commemoration projects can be greatly enhanced through the use of technology. The War of 1812 digitization and commemoration project is a great example of how commemoration can be enhanced through technology. Using the hosting, resource, and interface services provided by OurOntario a number of organizations from the Niagara region banded together to digitize their collection of artifacts relating to the War of 1812. The result of this endeavor can be searched here. This project increases access to a number of great museum collections and also increases awareness about the upcoming 100th anniversary of the War of 1812.

I don’t think online commemoration or virtual mourning can replace some aspects of the grieving and commemorative process. However, I do think that on-line memorials, collections, and virtual tourism can play a very important role in enhancing the commemorative experience.