April 16, 2019

New Opportunities for High School Students To Learn Indigenous Languages

New Indigenous language courses will expand learning opportunities for high school students in Saskatchewan.  Courses in Dene, Nakawe and Michif at the 10, 20 and 30 level will be available for the 2019-20 school year.

“Our government is proud to support the preservation and growth of First Nations and Métis languages in Saskatchewan,” Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said.  “We recognize that incorporating Indigenous language, culture and perspectives are foundational to the engagement and success of First Nations and Métis students.”

This initiative aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action and supports the Joint Task Force recommendations, which identify the importance of Indigenous languages and the significant role they play in preserving cultural traditions, knowledge and history.

“Reconciliation is about recognizing past wrongs, making sure those wrongs are not repeated and choosing to move forward together to build a better future,” Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson said.  “This renewed effort to acknowledge the significance of Indigenous languages and expand learning opportunities is an important step in creating inclusive learning environments for students and a meaningful step toward reconciliation in Saskatchewan.  One day we hope to see all the linguistic groups throughout these territories represented and accessible in our schools so all our grandchildren will see themselves in their classrooms.”

“The retention and preservation of our Indigenous languages has been an important focus of mine and it is encouraging to see a Métis language included in these efforts being made within our provincial education system,” Métis Nation Saskatchewan Education Minister Earl Cook said.  “This will assist in the retention of Michif, our official language.  Providing Indigenous students with meaningful opportunities to learn about and connect with their cultural heritage is key to their success.”

These new language courses are in addition to the already available provincial Cree (nēhiyawēwin) course.  Dene, Nakawe and Michif were previously available through locally developed courses to meet the needs of local students.

School divisions across Saskatchewan will have the opportunity to offer these provincial Indigenous language courses beginning in the fall of 2019.