Language instructors use Paul Creek Method to foster Gwich’in speakers, teachers

Language instructors in the Yukon are using a new method for teaching Indigenous languages to foster Gwich’in speakers. The Paul Creek Method was first developed for the Salish language and has since been adapted to teach other Indigenous languages. The adaptable method uses recordings of fluent speakers for training so that those who are not fluent can still teach the curriculum. Chris Parkin, one of the program’s co-creators, said that 19 Indigenous language communities around the world have adopted the system to promote language revitalization. Sophia Flather, who is organizing a Gwich’in language course for teachers in Old Crow, Yukon, said she feels that she has a responsibility to keep her language alive. “It can be a heavy thing to carry because you are learning and at the same time you are developing curriculum and at the same time you’re teaching,” said Flather. “I just think in language work you always wish you could do more […] but, you never know how a little bit of work could really make a huge difference.”