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Ocean Learning Across Cultures

November 29, 2016

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Today on #GivingTuesday, we’re excited to share a project with you that Animikii proudly sponsored called, FrancOcean Pacifique! The FrancOcean Pacifique project is a joint effort carried out by organizations spanning non-profit, social enterprise, Government and for-profit sectors. The project also spans across cultures and the Pacific Ocean. The main presenting partners of the FrancOcean Pacifique are Pacific Peoples’ Partnership, Fish Eye Project, and Rivages Pacifiques. Animikii provided in-kind support for the project through the creation of the FrancOcean Pacifique website.


Bringing Youth Together

The purpose of FrancOcean Pacifique is to provide a unique learning opportunity for Francophone youth living in British Columbia and youth living in New Caledonia in the South Pacific. FrancOcean Pacifique is an ocean study program that brings together cohorts of students who live oceans away; its focus is on cultural and knowledge exchanges between Canadian and New Caledonian youth through the lens of our shared ocean. Content created by team curriculum developers was provided to participating teachers and classes in Canada and in New Caledonia. Through the FrancOcean Pacifique curriculum, student participants learned about the ocean from a variety of perspectives and knowledge bases, including through traditional Indigenous knowledge and scientific study. Specifically, the curriculum incorporated traditional Indigenous teachings through activities like an interview with Hereditary Chief Chris Cook III about the salmon cycle from his perspective. The curriculum incorporated traditional stories into the learning activities and student participants were asked to think about ocean connection from an Indigenous perspective. Further, the student participants are encouraged to create and share student art inspired by the learning. The student artwork is curated and shared by Pacific Peoples’ Partnership. 

Through FrancOcean Pacifique, participating students had unique, experiential learning opportunities through live, underwater events facilitated by Fish Eye Project. These events featured scientists and ocean experts provided unique and personalized explanations about the ocean environments that the students had been learning about all semester. These ocean experts shared stories and answered the students’ questions in real time to foster meaningful dialogue between students and experts.  Youth Images

The images above show student participants engaging with the Fish Eye Project teams during the project's live events via webcam.

Live Dives

Throughout the life of the project, FrancOcean Pacifique held two scheduled live underwater events for participating classes. One of these live events took place in Campbell River, BC and the other in Nouméa, to explore the coral reefs of New Caledonia. The live events were real-time broadcasts of educators and experts talking about these environments with underwater footage that the students could watch from their classrooms. The students also communicated with the team in real time, they asked questions and got answers either online or from the team on camera. The event in Campbell River, BC occurred in September of this year. The teaching that accompanied the live event was centered on the salmon run and the Coast Salish Peoples’ relationship with this migration. The live underwater event off of Nouméa occurred in November and focused on the coral reef ecosystems, the threats affecting them and the local Indigenous Peoples’ relationships to this ecosystem.

The purpose of the live underwater events was to connect participating students from the North to the South Pacific and to teach them about the diversity of marine ecosystems, the traditional, Indigenous relationships to the ocean and the effects of climate change. Most importantly, students are given the chance to think about and exchange ideas for solutions to problems caused by climate change. Six classes participated in an in-depth exchange over the course of a few months to learn from each others, share ocean knowledge and create friendships across the Pacific. Furthermore, students are encouraged to create art of all forms inspired by the learning and to share this art with all participating classes. Some of the students who choose to share their art will see it published in a special edition of the Tok Blong Pasifik journal published by PPP. The program focuses on topics like migration of species between northern and southern Pacific waters, the warming of the oceans, the proliferation of invasive species and the dwindling populations of endangered species.

FOP1                     FOp2

Animikii’s Involvement

Animikii’s team joined the FrancOcean Pacifique project as a sponsor. The project was led by the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership (PPP)  - experts of Pacific Indigenous culture - but Animikii was sought out as the developer to ensure that the design of the site was reflective of Indigenous culture and respectful of the goals of the project. Our goal with this project was to display the relationship and the commonalities between Indigenous Peoples of the North Pacific and the Indigenous Peoples of the South Pacific. We wanted to include art of both Northern and Southern Pacific Indigenous artists and we wanted to visually represent the connection through the ocean.

The webpage on this site that we’re most excited about is the traditional languages information page. Through research provided by PPP and other partners, the FrancOcean Pacifique website provides information about the Kwak'wala language spoken by the Kwakwaka'wakw Peoples - on whose traditional territory the first live event occurred, as well as information about the Drehu language, spoken by the traditional inhabitants of Nouméa in New Caledonia. Animikii is proud to support this project because it allows for cultural exchange and sharing of traditional Indigenous knowledge with interested youth from across the ocean. We love to see Indigenous perspectives and teachings brought formally into Canadian classrooms. The Animikii team was very happy to work with our Indigenous partners as well as our allies on this project to bring the traditional, Indigenous perspectives on the Pacific Ocean to classrooms from across the world.


ppp logoPacific Peoples’ Partnership is a registered Canadian charity whose mission is “to support the aspirations of Pacific Islanders for peace, justice, environmental sustainability, and development.” The organization works to foster “effective relationships with Indigenous and civil society partners across the Small Island Developing States of the South Pacific (Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia) and First Nations across Canada.” You can find out more about PPP at its website.

FEP logo


Fish Eye Project is a Victoria-based organization with the mission to “entertain, engage, and educate by connecting people to the world’s ocean through interactive Live Dives.”       


Title and additional image: Alain Gerbault. Salmon image: Eiko Jones Photography.

Article published November 29, 2016.

November 29, 2016

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