About the First Peoples' Cultural Council
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) is a provincial Crown Corporation formed by the government of British Columbia in 1990 to administer the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Program. The mandate of FPCC is to assist B.C. First Nations in their efforts to revitalize their languages, arts and cultures. For more information, please visit our website: www.fpcc.ca.
Language Map Project History
The First Peoples’ Map of B.C. originated as the First Peoples’ Language Map of British Columbia and was initiated by First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council (FPHLCC, commonly First Peoples’ Culture Council - FPCC) in 2005 with funding from the BC Ministry of Education.
The language map was started by linguist Sarah Kell with contemporary language group boundaries provided by the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Adjustments were made to the language group boundaries based on First Nation reserve locations and best available knowledge of language spoken by First Nations affiliated with reserve lands. Historical information on territories of sleeping languages was prepared for the Handbook of North American Indians (1996, revised 1999) under the supervision of Dr. Ives Goddard and is reproduced with permission of the Smithsonian Institution. Additional map data was added from a number of sources. (See Map Data Sources). The first online map was created by Global CADD Systems.
In 2008, Alex Wadsworth and Towagh Behr led the expansion of the online map into a website with content on the languages, First Nations and community champions. The development of the web-based Drupal content management system was completed by Patrick Hayes of GeoMemes. To build content for the website, Towagh completed a short series of interviews with fluent speakers from around the province. Alex, Towagh and Patrick also turned the FPHLCC Language Status Assessments into online surveys that continue to populate the website with current statistics on language fluency and learning. In 2014, Alex Wadsworth worked with Greg Sebastian and Dr. Charles Burnett of GeoMemes to update the whole system, upgrading the maps to Leaflet library and making refinements to the Language Status Assessment surveys.
In 2019, FPCC contracted Countable Web Productions to modernize the map and create a system that includes diverse data points (language, arts, heritage). The new version you are seeing today includes support for user contributions as well as an improved user-interface with better mobile compatibility and new data points.
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Arts Map Project History
The original First Peoples’ Arts Map was shaped by a number of forces combined with a series of cultural mapping gatherings organized by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council’s Arts Department in 2005, 2007 and 2009. In 2005, First Peoples’ Cultural Council’s then Arts Program Manager, Cathi Charles Wherry wanted to more effectively and creatively gather and illustrate some of the energy, intelligence, strength and richness that Indigenous artists and cultural workers consistently brought to our work together when we gathered. This was related to a conscious desire to focus on the positive, Indigenous artists’ strengths, the resources they draw on, what’s working, and how we frame and define ‘success’.
At the same time, Cathi was introduced to the potential of cultural mapping processes when she met international cultural consultant Robert Palmer at a think tank in 2005. This meeting coincided with her planning of the FPCC-hosted 2005 National Aboriginal Arts Administrator Gathering. Robert Palmer guided and worked with her to develop a facilitation plan that would introduce the group to cultural mapping during the 3-day event. 30 Indigenous arts leaders from across the country participated in the gathering, which was inspiring, energizing and a great success. Through creative exercises the group explored relationships, resources and forces that impact the work they do. We also had fun!
One of the exercises at that 2005 gathering sparked the idea to organize a similar B.C focused cultural mapping session. After fundraising and planning, in 2007 FPCC convened 30 Indigenous artists, arts administrators and community leaders from across B.C. Again, Robert Palmer provided guidance through developing a plan for cultural mapping facilitation and appreciative exploration exercises. The group visualized significant aspects of their arts ecosystems, such as:
Artists’ relationships to community, history, place, and other artists and organizations
Resources crucial to artistic vitality, such as materials from the land, mentors, studios, galleries, events, financial resources, and
Forces that influence the success of their work, including collaboration, sense of community, connections to history and spirit, and meeting with like-minded people.
All of these explorations were inspired by and graphically illustrated through creative exercises, allowing people to identify patterns and clear connections, and to see how they fit into this network of relationships and forces. This is when the idea of an online Indigenous arts map emerged.
In 2009 another B.C. Cultural Mapping Gathering was organized. Facilitation consultant Paula Beltgens provided guidance with a facilitation plan that strategically led to solid input for the creation of a living online Indigenous arts map. The results were analyzed and workshopped by Arts staff, members of the facilitation team and map developers Geomemes. As a group we developed the complex schema for the first arts map, which was built to be interactive and automated. Launched in 2012, the First Peoples’ Arts Map has grown to provide an online space where Indigenous artists, groups and organizations can put themselves on the map and gain visibility for their practices as visual artists, performers, musicians, storytellers, and media artists, in the context of each other’s work.
The map has been improved over time. During 2020 this current iteration has been further updated, modernized, and merged with language and heritage on the First Peoples’ Map of B.C. with developers, Countable Web Productions. However, it remains rooted to Indigenous arts communities who contribute all of the content. We hold our hands up and say miigwech to everyone who participated in or supported this work leading up to the creation of the original First Peoples’ Arts Map. This is the foundation of what is now the Arts facet of the new First Peoples’ Map of B.C.
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Map Data Sources
Living Language Group Boundaries Initially based on a map provided by the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, and reproduced with permission.
Sleeping Languages and Historical Language Group Boundaries Based on a map prepared for the Handbook of North American Indians (1996, revised 1999) under the supervision of Dr. Ives Goddard, and reproduced with permission of the Smithsonian Institution.
Language and Dialect Names based on research by the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language, and Culture Council
Reserves ©2003 Government of Canada, reproduced with permission from Natural Resources Canada.
Band Office locations Prepared by Public Works and Government Services Canada for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and reproduced with permission.
Sites of Interest Based on research by the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language, and Culture Council
Coastline, islands, lakes, rivers, roads, railways, background land layers Provided by the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources
BC Communities BC Digital Gazeteer, provided by the BC Integrated Land Management Bureau
Provincial Boundaries, National and Provincial Parks © Government of Canada
State Boundaries Provided by the US Census Bureau
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