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Province invests $6M in Indigenous language education

TSUUT’INA NATION – The provincial government intends to spend $6 million dollars over the next two years to help establish a new program that will bring Indigenous language education into classrooms across the province.
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Dancers perform during the Nakoda Elementary School powwow in Morley on June 22.

TSUUT’INA NATION – The provincial government intends to spend $6 million dollars over the next two years to help establish a new program that will bring Indigenous language education into classrooms across the province.

Minister of Education David Eggen was joined by Indigenous elders and language speakers from across the province at the Tsuut’ina Nation to announce the new funding on Nov. 15.

“We know that two thirds of Indigenous languages spoken in Canada are at risk, but I can say as well language can live and breathe and grow again if we nurture it,” said Eggen.

“This program will be first in Canada focused on increasing Indigenous language teacher capacity and expanding resources development for kindergarten to Grade 12 of all Indigenous languages.”

The grant program will provide funding through two streams. The instructor development stream will provide $4 million in funding over two years to First Nations colleges and universities and Indigenous organizations that have a primary mandate to train early childhood education and kindergarten to Grade 12 language instructors in Indigenous languages.

The second stream – the resource development stream – will provide $2 million over two years to organizations that have expertise in developing Indigenous language resources. This will include First Nations and Métis communities, Indigenous organizations and provincial school jurisdictions and post-secondary institutions that partner with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and organizations.

Bill Shade, superintendent for the Stoney Nakoda Education Authority, welcomed the funding announcement and said his organization intended to apply for funding.

“It is important because we have traditionally been underfunded in that area throughout the years, so I think this additional funding will help,” said Shade.

He said it is critically important to teach the Stoney Nakoda language because the number of speakers are dwindling.

“We know that language is the base of any culture or community and when you have speakers numbers dropping we have to do something in order to ensure that the language is preserved,” said Shade.

The deadline for organizations to apply for the funding is Dec. 18, 2018.


Paul Clarke

About the Author: Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke has spent the past four years working as a community news reporter in Jasper, Banff and Canmore.
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