Indigenous languages are dying nationally at an alarmingly high rate – here in Saskatchewan The Government of Saskatchewan is partnering with the First Nations University of Canada for an initiative that may help preserve and even revitalize these languages.
The initiative comes in the form of a $50,000 injection of cash in order to fund scholarship programs for those pursuing study in indigenous languages through the First Nations University of Canada.
Three new scholarships will be administered through the FNUC – something President of the First Nations University of Canada Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann says will help protect indigenous languages.
“With this new Indigenous Languages scholarship funding from the Province of Saskatchewan, more students can begin and finish their languages studies here at FNUniv, and that is so important for the preservation and continued use of our traditional languages here in Saskatchewan,” Dr.Ottman reiterated the danger these indigenous languages are facing, “Language teaching is critically important, especially as many Indigenous languages are, or are becoming, endangered.”
Five indigenous language programs are offered through the FNUC – ranging from certificate to graduate programs. The program will help train more indigenous language teachers – and should benefit 40 students each year.
“Our languages hold complex knowledge systems and are a gift from our ancestors,” Indigenous Languages Program Coordinator and Lecturer Andrea Custer said. “Despite efforts to eradicate our languages, our grandfathers and grandmothers held on to them for us younger generations. As part of the First Nations University of Canada’s mission we are here to support the Indigenous peoples of Saskatchewan who want to reclaim their languages, through a variety of language programs. The new scholarship funding provided by the Government of Saskatchewan will further support students in their determination to reclaim their languages.