The First Peoples’ Cultural Council launched FirstVoices 1.0 in 2003 to provide multilingual language documentation tools to the 34 distinct First Nations languages of British Columbia, Canada. British Columbia has the greatest diversity of Indigenous languages in Canada, representing 60 percent of all Indigenous languages in the country. Indigenous languages in the province are in a state of emergency with fewer than 6,000 total speakers across all languages and dialects.
Initially envisioned by two teaching colleagues in a small tribal school, FirstVoices now serves over 60 languages and dialects in Canada, the United States, and Australia. FirstVoices provides a dynamic platform for technically-savvy Indigenous youth to partner with their fluent speaking elders to document their languages for future generations.
FirstVoices and Nuxeo: Aligned Technologically and Philosophically
A Modern & Secure Knowledge Management Solution
Capturing Indigenous language knowledge is core to the FirstVoices mission. The organization conducts field acquisition of this knowledge by working closely with the tribal communities they serve. This process consists of sending FirstVoices trainers to live in First Nations communities for 1-2 weeks at a time. Training workshops are also conducted remotely.
During this time, trainers share the latest techniques with teams of community-based language champions to capture text, audio, videos, photos and other language resources for upload to the robust online FirstVoices database.
As complex as the Indigenous language capture process sounds, the bigger challenge facing FirstVoices as they set to launch the 2.0 version of their web-based platform was how to best architect it to deliver the capabilities necessary to serve communities in a manner that was modern and secure.
A Low-Code Solution Easy to Use
In order to effectively capture, preserve and protect Indigenous languages, dialects, and alphabets, a modern and open technology platform for knowledge management was needed.
Nuxeo came to our attention not only because we could easily adapt and configure their Content Services Platform in ways that enabled us to preserve native languages, but also because of their true open-source approach. Philosophically, our organization believes in the principle that ‘one demonstrates wealth by giving it away,’ and Nuxeo’s open approach to their software code embodies this principle.
Dan Nevin, FirstVoices Consultant.
FirstVoices tapped the Nuxeo consulting and professional services teams to help configure the platform and host it in the cloud to meet the knowledge management needs of their organization as well as the communities it serves.
From the beginning, we’ve had great interactions with Nuxeo’s team. The quality of our engagements with consulting and professional services teams at Nuxeo has been outstanding.
Daniel Yona, FirstVoices Development Manager.
Nuxeo – the Content Services Engine Powering FirstVoices
A Fast & Flexible Solution
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is able to leverage Nuxeo to take advantage of best-of-breed approaches and technologies—both now and in the future.
In Nuxeo, we saw a very mature solution that was fast and flexible, and that also gave us great performance. The platform was absolutely core to our ability to launch the 2.0 version of FirstVoices.
Nuxeo is true open source, and that was important to us. In fact, Nuxeo is one of the few companies I’ve seen with full transparency on their product development process. Working with an open platform like Nuxeo helps to demonstrate our integrity to the communities we serve.
Architected for Today & Tomorrow’s Language
Nuxeo serves as the platform for how Indigenous language assets are stored, managed, protected, and accessed by the communities FirstVoices serves.
FirstVoices currently stores and manages approximately 400,000 objects in Nuxeo, a number they expect will continue to grow.
The organization uses Nuxeo’s workflow management capabilities to validate what constitutes a “minimally viable record” to be stored and managed within FirstVoices.
FirstVoices leverages the permissions management features in Nuxeo to help restrict access to certain files and objects.
Many words are sacred within each of our communities, so it was important that our stakeholder communities be in control of their language data, including who has access. As we were developing FirstVoices 2.0, we found Nuxeo to be the best platform to address many key cultural considerations important to First Nations communities, such as where cultural assets are stored and how they’re managed.
Tracey Herbert, CEO of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (the non-profit organization that manages FirstVoices)
A Bold Plan for Enhancing FirstVoices.com to Be Realized – Thanks to Nuxeo
With the 2.0 edition of FirstVoices now live, the organization is looking at how it can further leverage the Nuxeo platform to improve how it manages and provides access to language assets.
We feel like we’re only utilizing a fraction of the power that the Nuxeo platform can provide. We intend to use more and more of the Nuxeo stack going forward.
We’re looking at ways we can utilize virtual drives to help us better manage large volumes of data and content as well as mobile apps to make it easier for community language teams to capture language assets while in the field.
We could not help to preserve the Indigenous languages in our region in the manner we are without the help of Nuxeo,
FirstVoices.com is a ground-breaking Indigenous language archiving and teaching resource. The platform is designed to support Indigenous people based in British Columbia (Canada) engaged in language archiving, language teaching and culture revitalization. The FirstVoices language archive contains thousands of text entries in many diverse Indigenous writing systems, enhanced with sounds, pictures and videos. A companion set of interactive online games is designed to present the archived FirstVoices language data in creative learning activities and environments. Some language archives at FirstVoices are publicly accessible, while others are password protected at the request of the language community.