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Language Retention a Priority for Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre

Since 1972, SICC has been protecting, preserving, and promoting First Nations languages.

Priscilla St. John is the Education and Language Specialist for the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center (SICC). As the first Indigenous controlled education institution serving Saskatchewan, SICC offers opportunities for cultural revitalization for the following First Nations: Plains Cree, Swampy Cree, Woodlands Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakota and Lakota. First Nations Elders met to discuss the importance of Indigenous language acquisition and developed outcomes that, combined with the provincially mandated curriculum, create the language based curriculum that SICC promotes. St. John explains, First Nations languages start with our ways of knowing, our stories, our ancestors, our laws, our protocols, and are guided by Elders, which are all connected to the Creator. SICC provides First Nations with educational resources and language workshops that derive from their land based and sacred language curricula. These opportunities and resources are available to anyone who is interested in language revitalization.

Rose Pacquette on the Dene Language in Fond du Lac, Saskatchewan

Revitalizing Dene language, culture, and identity through language reclamation in Fond du Lac.

Retired educator, Rose Pacquette, discusses the importance of reclaiming Dene culture and identity by learning the Dene language. Pacquette has witnessed the loss of Dene language in her community, and with the loss of language, Dene culture has been replaced by English and social media. She has been a teacher in her community, Fond Du Lac, Saskatchewan for many years and she stresses that language is the foundation of having a strong cultural identity, which is why it is crucial to teach Dene to younger generations. The Dene Nation needs to be reclaimed and the Dene people need to know the cultural traditions, their worldview, and the history of their people in order to be proud of their cultural identity. For Dene people, Indigenous education should reflect Dene culture, language, and traditions.

Principal, Dene Tha’ Community School

The Dene Tha’ Community school has students from Head Start to Grades 12. Grades 4-12 students can attend the Cultural Camp held in the fall and winter for a five day period. With the support from the Dene local community hunters and Language specialists the camp infuses the Dene culture into their daily activities from hunting, to preparing and learning how to cut meat and dry it. As well as other cultural activities such as berry-picking, willow gathering, story-telling, and playing traditional hand games. This land-based learning portion of the curriculum includes the Dene language and culture. Dene traditional and cultural practices and activities such as Dene storytelling, traditional hand games, berry picking or finding willows to make sticks. In the winter, the Cultural Camp is at Bistcho Lake which is a fly in fishing place in the summer but in the winter, the students travel by vehicles. This location has five cabins. Some of the cultural activities taught are how to ice fish. The aim of this Cultural program is land-based that the school supports students learning of their Dene Culture. High school students, will earn and gain credits as part of the curriculum. There are many academic outcomes that can be attached to these Cultural Camps. The school utilizes language and cultural teachers to make learning interesting forthe students. Indigenous education should come from the community and work with schools.

Carlito Somera is the Principal of the Dene Tha Community School from the Dene Tha’s First Nation located in Treaty 8, Northwest of the town of High Level. The school grade levels are from Head Start to Grade 12. The school is located in the community of Chateh, Alberta. Carlito’s interview focuses on the Dene Tha’s Cultural Camps offered both in the fall and winter. This is a five-day Cultural Camp for students from grades 4-12. The camp is coordinated by local Dene Language and Culture Instructors. They are the responsible team for bringing in local hunters, elders, and other local members who can share their stories with young people. The boys lean how to hunt and the girls are taught to cut and dry meat. During the camp,

BushKids

BushKids is exploring ethical space between Indigenous education and Western education principles in Yellowknife, NT. The co-founders are both trained forest and nature school practitioners. Chloe Dragon Smith is a Dënesųłiné – Metis woman from Yellowknife, who grew up learning on the land through the Indigenous education principles of her family. Wendy Lahey is a […]

BushKids is exploring ethical space between Indigenous education and Western education principles in Yellowknife, NT. The co-founders are both trained forest and nature school practitioners.
Chloe Dragon Smith is a Dënesųłiné – Metis woman from Yellowknife, who grew up learning on the land through the Indigenous education principles of her family.
Wendy Lahey is a non-Indigenous educator trained in the Western education system, who has lived in the north for a long time.
The two women are committed to working together and with the community as much as possible to create a curriculum that equally honors these systems of teaching and learning on the land.
The goal of BushKids is ultimately to affect the public education system, and ensure all northern students spend regular time on the land throughout the school year. Programming is currently offered throughout the school year for pilot classes of all ages, from early childhood to high school. BushKids educators also work with teachers in public education systems with the goal of enabling them to bring their classes outside as part of their learning.

B. Dene Adventures

Traditional Dene cultural camp near the community of Dettah, NT.

B. Dene Adventures offers traditional Dene culture programs for groups of all ages. B. Dene Adventures will educate students, social groups, industry and visitors in the NWT about the Yellowknives Dene First Nation traditional Dene way of life. We will do so by using our strong community relationships, our knowledge of the land and by creating a relaxing and comfortable environment for learning and sharing.

Dene Nahjo Urban Hide Tanning

Urban Hide Tanning in Somba K’e

Dene Nahjo’s Annual Urban Hide Tanning Camp is a reclamation of urbanized space in the heart of Somba K’e. They host a two week long camp in Somba K’e park, where guests are invited to witness or participate in hide tanning. There are Elders and experienced hide tanners available to mentor learners and share stories. Thousands of people have passed through Dene Nahjo’s Urban Hide Tanning Camp, including many students and hide tanning learners. This camp is an Indigenous safe space for us, as Indigenous people, to learn, have fun, make mistakes, make relationships and be vulnerable.

Indigenous Language Revitalisation

University of Victoria community based Indigenous Language Revitalization Bachelor of Education program. ”Our Indigenous language revitalization programs, offered in collaboration with the Department of Linguistics and the Division of Continuing Studies, seek to support communities to retain and revive their own language. While we offer on-campus Indigenous Education courses, we also offer our programs directly […]

University of Victoria community based Indigenous Language Revitalization Bachelor of Education program.

”Our Indigenous language revitalization programs, offered in collaboration with the Department of Linguistics and the Division of Continuing Studies, seek to support communities to retain and revive their own language. While we offer on-campus Indigenous Education courses, we also offer our programs directly within individual language communities.” from https://www.uvic.ca/education/areas-study/indigenous-language/index.php

Dene Kede

Dene Kede encompasses the language, culture and the way in which five Dene nations view the world. In K to 6, themes are used to reinforce and teach the four concepts central to Dene perspective: the Spiritual World, the Land, the Self and the People, while grades 7 to 9 employ a modular approach. The […]

Dene Kede encompasses the language, culture and the way in which five Dene nations view the world. In K to 6, themes are used to reinforce and teach the four concepts central to Dene perspective: the Spiritual World, the Land, the Self and the People, while grades 7 to 9 employ a modular approach. The purpose of this curriculum is to present children with the experiences, knowledge, skills and attitudes which will guide them toward becoming capable citizens.  https://www.ece.gov.nt.ca/en/services/education-et-programmes-detude-de-la-maternelle-la-12e-annee/aboriginal-languages