Since the health of the language determines people's priorities for their language, each plan has a different focus, but there are some commonalities. All have a desire to see their language revitalized—to see it being used again more strongly than at present. Some groups want their language to be the primary language in their region. Oral traditions continue to have a strong focus. In some plans, we see a continuum of language and literacy development, from oral traditions through to writing in the Aboriginal language. Many activities in the plans are ones in which we have a common interest.

PART III  CONSULTING LANGUAGE COMMUNITIES

5.0 Consulting Language Communities

Aboriginal language communities are responsible for Aboriginal language development and must have full ownership and control of their cultural and language heritage. As literacy advocates, we believe we can play an important role in supporting them in their work. To do this, though, we need to understand 'literacy' in the NWT Aboriginal context to make our goals consistent with those of Aboriginal language communities. We also need to understand the processes and tools that can support literacy development in that context. And, perhaps, most importantly, we need the Aboriginal language communities to help us define our role as possible partners in Aboriginal literacy work. Consulting the different Aboriginal language communities was therefore an important part of this project.

5.1 The consultation process

Before meeting with representatives of the language communities, we developed a set of questions to guide the discussions. We then pilot–tested these questions with one of the language coordinators, and revised them based on her suggestions (see Appendix B). The questions were meant to be a guide only—we did not follow them rigidly. We then travelled to six of the eight regions to meet with different people involved in language work, including the language coordinators for the language communities. In two of the regions, the language coordinators had recently resigned, and no one was available to meet with us within our timeframe.