Indigenous Speakers Series

Visualizing Structure & Agency Through Social Network Analysis: A Postcolonial Case Study

When: Friday, March 13, 2015 from 1pm to 3pm

Where: Sty-Wet-Tan, First Nations House of Learning, 1985 West Mall, Vancouver, UBC

With Indigenous moderator, Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, Te Splatsin Sewepemc

Download the Indigenous Speakers Series poster ISS 2015


Globalization has drawn the global social, political, and economic networks ever closer. As disparate peoples negotiate cross-community contact their cultural identities provide a source of stability from which to operate. Unfortunately, this
identity has been catastrophically damaged for many Indigenous people. This paper presents results of an investigation of collectively intelligent behavior in the Ktunaxa speech community. The research reveals several independently initiated
strategies organized around the collective problem of language endangerment. Specifically, language speakers, acting without benefit of a coordinator, presented instances self-organizing efforts to reverse the historical language simplification
resulting from cultural trauma. The documented strategies of collaborative information encoding and memory recall processes serve to reduce entropy in the speech community identity.


Horsethief standingDr. Christopher Horsethief is a Ktunaxa scholar whose research focuses on the relationship between language and culture. Dr. Horsethief’s doctoral studies addressed the ways in which the Ktunaxa language was impacted by intergenerational trauma and stress resulting in language loss and endangerment. He focuses specifically on how our resilience and collective intelligence as tribal peoples supports language revitalization. He has also developed an app for the Ktunaxa language that is available on iTunes for FREE!
photoDr. Margo Pearce has been working with the Cedar Project since 2005. She recently defended her PhD dissertation in healthcare and epidemiology. The research that Margo is going to present demonstrates that young Indigenous people who have experienced childhood maltreatment and who use drugs to cope had greater resilience if they were trying to live according to traditional ways of life and if they knew their traditional language. This is especially important because it underscores what we have always known – that culture and language provide powerful protection against trauma – even among young people who may be living far away from their home communities.