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NDP invests $6 million to support Indigenous languages in education

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Ferguson, Eva
Publication Date: 
14 Nov 2018


The NDP government will invest up to $6 million to increase supports to Indigenous languages, helping to better train teachers and expanding resource development for early childhood education and kindergarten to Grade 12 Indigenous languages.

Minister of Education David Eggen made the announcement Thursday at the Tsuut’ina Nation just west of Calgary, saying the grant program will provide funding through two streams. Up to $4 million in funding over two years will go to First Nations colleges and universities, and Indigenous organizations that train teachers in Indigenous languages.

And up to $2 million over two years will go to organizations that have expertise in developing Indigenous language resources, including First Nations and Métis communities, Indigenous organizations and post-secondary institutions that partner with First Nations groups.

“Education plays a pivotal role in revitalizing Indigenous languages,” Eggen said.

“It is important that teachers have the knowledge and training to teach Indigenous languages in the classroom and that classroom resources are locally developed to help improve Indigenous language revitalization among students.”

Elders and Indigenous language experts called the funding an important opportunity to reawaken fading Indigenous languages — including Cree and Blackfoot Anishinabe — and help future generations better understand Indigenous culture.

“Our languages are holy; Creator sent it down from above,” said Bruce Starlight, elder and Tsuut’ina language speaker.

“I am happy that there are funds available. Without financial assistance, our language will be gone forever. We are able to record and publish our languages in book form. There is finally some assistance.”

Mary Cardinal-Collins, Cree language expert, added: “We shall complete a great deal of tasks now with the other Indigenous languages from across the Treaty 6, 7 and 8 territories, including our relatives, the Métis. 

“I thank the Creator, once again, and it will be great to help one another.”