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Revitalization of an Indigenous Language at a Former Residential School

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Title:Revitalization of an Indigenous Language at a Former Residential School
Authors:Jackson, Wayne
Contributors:Jackson, Wayne (speaker)
Date Issued:02 Mar 2017
Description:tân'si? With the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action1 highlighting the need for post-secondary institutions to create degree and diploma programs for aboriginal languages, this is an account of how a former residential school has successfully been able to revitalize their indigenous language by offering such programming. It is ironic how a former residential school --- that recently became a university at the behest, resolve and support of its own indigenous communities --- has become a hotbed of indigenous language revitalization. Beginning with elementary and high school language courses, this institution is now granting undergraduate and graduate degrees in indigenous languages and is serving areas within the prairie regions of Canada and even internationally. It is without a doubt that it has come to be a trailblazer and leader when it comes to language revitalization and determination to maintain and produce language advocates, teachers, and speakers. Currently the indigenous language program offers two streams, one for fluent speakers and one for those beginning in the language. It has been noticeable that the fluent students require instruction in the structure and grammar of the language, along with computers literacy, cahkipêhikana (Cree syllabics), SRO, language learning methodologies, instructional foundations to teaching, ceremony, and land-based learning as a central part of the program’s academia and in preparation for the work world. In addition, language resources are being developed by this institution to further serve language advocates and instructors. Books have been vetted, edited and published for the purpose of classroom and teaching material; most often these books were created from students who attended the indigenous language program. On-line resources (mamahtâwi-âpacihcikana) such as YouTube videos, podcasts, and on-line dictionary are also being created and are available on the World Wide Web to all as a means of archiving and distributing indigenous language resource materials. Annually there are Elder’s symposiums and conferences held in indigenous languages, these meetings are then videotaped and archived for future use with the intent of making it available for access on-line or to classroom instruction. In concluding, strides have been made to ensure indigenous languages are retained by the communities in which they serve and that the wisdom of the elders are followed through ceremony, guidance and prayers, but in reflection there is a continuing need to self-assess how the program can continue to be improved and made as efficient as possible. êkosi. References The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. (2015)
Appears in Collections: 5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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