Friends of Geographical
Names of Alberta Programs
The Friends of Geographical Names of Alberta is a registered, non-profit organization, formed in 1987 to promote awareness of Alberta's place names, and encourage interest in its heritage through toponymic study. The Society works closely with the Alberta Geographical Names Program and serves educational and outreach functions.
The Society has excelled in educational program development as well as research projects. An example of the former is the Namedropper Initiative and of the latter, the Native Mapping Project.
The Namedropper is a specialized pedagogical tool developed exclusively for use in the Alberta social studies curriculum, and introduces elementary-level students to the study of place names in the province. Namedropper is an interactive tool meant to foster interest in the student through a wide variety of hands-on and creative activities concerning Alberta's geographical place names.
The Challenge Program is a new initiative that aims to raise awareness of geographical names and the democratic process. The Challenge is aimed at students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, who are challenged to "re-name" their school, working together as "parliaments."
The Native Mapping Project is the result of an extensive research project that examined Aboriginal place names. The Native Mapping report outlines the distribution of Aboriginal populations throughout the province and traces the origin of the place-names associated with the various tribes. It not only draws attention to the province's indigenous heritage, it also provides a historical and cultural context for the emergence of its many Aboriginal place names.
The Friends have recently undertaken a project to promote Aboriginal culture through partnerships with communities, in particular with Elders and artists. The Aboriginal Talking Dictionary is such a project and phase 1 - the Blackfoot Talking Dictionary - is complete and available on the site. It includes original artwork and oral history in Blackfoot and English.