An Internship Training Program proposal to build Tłįchǫ Government capacity demonstrates a commitment on the part of the Tłįchǫ leadership to invest in young people working and training together for exciting careers with the Tłįchǫ Government. The proposal also represents a commitment to strengthening Tłįchǫ language culture and way of life. In 2014 it is proposed that initial project funding be taken from the Tłįchǫ Strategic Economic Development Investment Fund.
There are great concerns about the cultural gaps between Tłįchǫ youth and their elders, and the need for young people to deepen their understanding and appreciation of their culture. The Tłįchǫ Government also needs to build strengths and future capacity using our own young people.
This proposal for an internship training pilot project seeks to address all these concerns.
What could we do? What type of programs can we develop that can make a difference?
It is recognized that for ancient cultures and languages to survive, there must be continuing “transmission” from elders to youth. We can create an internship training program for the Tłįchǫ Government and develop a “strong like two people” training model. This model will help interns learn from elders regarding their language, culture and way of life while building strengths and future capacity into our Government.
How could we do this?
We could establish a pilot project to begin work with a small group of 8-10 interns who will work on cultural projects while learning the tools they need to build capacity within the Tłįchǫ Government.
Who will be the first group of interns?
To ensure success, it is suggested we start where we can provide the most support & resources. Our first group will be staff and interns working for the new Department of Culture and Lands Protection in the Tłįchǫ Government in Behchokǫ̀. This will be a pilot project and we will also seek ways of involving youth from Gamètì , Wekweètì and Whatì in research projects, and also in years 2 and 3 of the program.
What is the Training Model?
We will build on lessons learned, and successes from the implementation of the Community Action Research Team (CART) at the TCSA and the Tłįchǫ Government. This model of training and development used a successful approach integrating training and mentorship while being immersed in the work of delivering wellness and healing projects related to the social programs.
We will use the same model of training and mentorship while immersing the interns in the implementation of projects related to Tłįchǫ language, culture and way of life:
We will provide:
- A 3-year training program with 12-15 weeks of training a year typically in blocks of one week of training with three weeks of work; training will be connected with the work and be learning by doing …theory and practice will NOT be separated; Training will begin as generalists and as aptitudes and interests emerge, specialities can be persued
- Training will include cultural themes including Tłįchǫ cosmology, language, orthography, cultural lessons and demonstrations from the land, community based research & indigenous research methodologies;
- Training will include teamwork strategies, proposal writing/reporting, budgeting, project and time management, planning, coordination and logistics, videography, audio recording & digitization techniques including Photovoice;
- Mentorships with Tłįchǫ elders will be facilitated so that there are significant relationships established, and maintained throughout this program.
What work will the interns do?
The interns will support the work of the Department of Culture and Lands Protection by assisting staff with GIS, land use planning and environmental monitoring, community based research & heritage preservation, coordination of research partnerships and projects, and developing cultural resources and by contributing to new media projects such as the web resource at www.tlicho.ca and in the Tłįchǫ Cultural Commons Digital Archives, and in the Tłįchǫ schools promoting cultural pride with other youth and students.