[lg policy] British Columbia: SD58 to support iindigenous language learning

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu Apr 19 10:26:55 EDT 2018

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Home <http://www.merrittherald.com>   >   Community
<http://www.merrittherald.com/category/community/>   >   SD 58 to support
Indigenous language learning through provincial grant
SD 58 to support Indigenous language learning through provincial grant
By The Herald <http://www.merrittherald.com/author/theherald/> on April 18,

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Students enrolled Merritt Secondary School’s First Nations language courses
hope that by learning the language, it will be alive for future
generations. (Michael Potestio/Herald).

by Dara Hill

School District 58 received a grant of $6,571 to support Indigenous
language learning in the Nicola Valley.

As part of the B.C. Ministry of Education’s mandate to reflect Indigenous
wordviews and perspectives in the the kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum,
the grant is designed to support Indigenous language curriculum, programs
and policy.

Superintendent Stephen McNiven explained this grant is on top of one
previously received to support the nłeʔkepmxcin language nest
curriculum and resources.

“This second grant is to help the school district pursue the recent
conversations we’ve had with Lower Nicola around partnering with about two
or three different activities,” he said, adding that the the Nooaitch,
Shackan, and Coldwater bands are also involved in the conversation.

The first is the possibility of introducing a district component to the
Lower Nicola language nest partnering with Lower Nicola’s language nest —
bringing a district component. The second is language development over the
summer for adult learners in order to increase the number of potential
instructors in the future and the third is a joint partnership with the
building of a sʔístkn (winter house).

He told the *Herald* he’s feeling positive about the options.

“So those conversations are going on right now and the ministry dollars
that we received are to help us carry on with them,” he said. “Right now
the initiatives are focused on the nłeʔkepmxcin language, but in Upper
Nicola we focus on the Suxwtxtem language.

McNiven noted the district’s language programs have grown stronger in the
last two years, and this year in particular.

“We’ve seen more students participating — taking both languages — and we’re
just doing our best to build capacity around it because it’s very difficult
to find fluent speakers of the languages,” he explained.

The school district has two goals moving forward, said McNiven.

“One is work on the early learning piece of this through the language nest,
or what we would describe as a StrongStart approach,” he said. “The second
is determining how we can build capacity in our adult learners so they
might become fluent speakers — and therefore teachers in the future.”

McNiven said the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) is another
partner in these exploratory conversations.

“They are part of the discussion at this point, and we’re trying to figure
out where we go in the near future with it,” he said. “NVIT, both from the
expertise they have around the traditional languages and their early
childhood education program, has facets that we’re interested in pursuing.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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