NS, NV consider ways to include more Indigenous language education in school systems

Nova Scotia and Nunavut are making moves to include more Indigenous language education in their school systems and are considering how education in Indigenous languages can best be implemented. Indigenous communities have responded to the tabling of legislation to recognize Mi’kmaw as Nova Scotia’s first language by questioning what impact this will have on language recognition and education in schools. Brian Francis, who is Mi’kmaw from Elsipogtog First Nation, says that there is a need for education in Indigenous languages as young people are losing the language. Francis has said he would like political leaders to push for immersion funding, which Wolastoq Grand Council chief Ron Tremblay echoed with a call for governments and churches to fund immersion schools to make amends for purposefully attempting to destroy the languages in residential schools. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) President Aluki Kotierk encouraged Nunavut to look to Greenland for inspiration on how Indigenous language use can be effectively implemented within school systems. Since student protests in the 1970s, students in Greenland have learned primarily in Greenlandic, thanks to efforts to grow the number of teachers in schools who speak Greenlandic. Kotierk is calling for Nunavut to follow this path by increasing the number of Inuktut-speaking teachers in high schools. “I think it demonstrates that Inuktut could be used in all grade levels and all subject matters, so students could graduate with Inuktut as the language of instruction,” said Kotierk.

CBC (1) | CBC (2)