A $665,000 grant to the Canadian Indigenous Language and Literacy Development Institute will help enhance Indigenous language acquisition for Alberta students by ensuring instructors can acquire training and certification.
The goal is to increase the number of Indigenous language instructors in Alberta and to build their capacity to preserve, revitalize and strengthen language learning in communities across the province.
“Studies show learning and having the ability to speak an Indigenous language increases academic success for students and strengthens the connection between Indigenous people and their culture. As we work to protect and improve education for all Alberta students, this investment will help us revitalize and preserve Indigenous languages that are at risk.”
“Revitalizing Indigenous languages are key to student success and recognizing the rich culture, history and identity of Canada’s First Peoples. This work is an important step in addressing the historic wrongs in education and honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.”
“I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact it can have when people begin to reconnect with their language. It’s pretty amazing. This funding will have an immediate effect on ensuring the revitalization and sustainability of Indigenous languages and increase access to community-based language instruction.”
The Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute is an initiative through the faculties of arts, education and native studies at the University of Alberta. In addition to the annual summer school in Edmonton, the institute partners with Indigenous communities and language activists around the world to deliver courses and workshops, develop language resource materials and collaborate on a range of language documentation and revitalization efforts.
The institute connects with Indigenous language instructors to support their capacity to promote, practise and pass on their language in schools and communities across Alberta.
To earn an Indigenous language certificate, instructors are required to complete 18 credits. Currently, 30 instructors are benefiting from the grant through subsidized tuition. The grant will also support adapting content and developing online courses and community-based programming.
Alberta Education works with First Nations, Métis and Inuit stakeholders to support provincial and locally developed language and culture programming. Blackfoot and Cree Language and Culture programs are available as options for students from kindergarten to Grade 12.