Data & Artistic Messaging


Contribution by Cree Whelshula, NLCC TTA Director

Data is not always about numbers and reporting. It can be very useful to convey powerful messages in support of your language revitalization efforts. I wanted to demonstrate the importance of language and culture to indigenous people. I took to Facebook and solicited responses with the following question, “In one word, what do language and culture mean to you?” I posted this question on my timeline and shared it with a couple of groups.

About two weeks after the comments stopped, I then took the URLs of the posts, and pasted them into the www.commentexporter.com generator. The Comment Exporter exports the Facebook comments into an Excel spreadsheet (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Image: Snapshot of excel spreadsheet of comments generated by www.commentexporter.com

Next, I cleaned the comments up, because some people gave their word and then expanded upon it, or made other comments. After cleaning the data, I then copied all the words, went to www.wordart.com/create, clicked import, and then pasted all the comments. I selected the shape I wanted the word cloud to be in, which is a wolf (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Word Cloud Generated

The bigger the word, the more often it came up. For this question, I received 88 responses. The two words used most were both identity and life. Other words to note are connection, roots, and hope. The concepts these words represent are very integral to the health and wellness of indigenous communities. I would foresee utilizing this imagery in support of language revitalization to tribal leadership, funding, or sharing out the community to increase the community climate of revitalization efforts.