Above: Minister Eggen and Chief Laboucan with students from the Literacy and Drama Indigenous Language Education class
by Morinville News Staff
The Alberta government is giving a $665,000 grant to the Canadian Indigenous Language and Literacy Development Institute to help enhance Indigenous language acquisition for Alberta students by ensuring instructors can acquire training and certification.
The province says the move will give Kindergarten to Grade 12 students greater access to Indigenous language learning and teaching in their communities.
“Studies show learning and having the ability to speak an Indigenous language increases academic success for students and strengthens the connection between Indigenous people and their culture,” said David Eggen, Minister of Education. “As we work to protect and improve education for all Alberta students, this investment will help us revitalize and preserve Indigenous languages that are at risk.”
Billy Joe Laboucan, Chief, Lubicon Lake Band, said revitalizing Indigenous languages are key to student success and recognizing the rich culture, history and identity of Canada’s First Peoples.
“This work is an important step in addressing the historic wrongs in education and honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.”
The Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute is an initiative through the faculties of arts, education and native studies at the University of Alberta.
Instructors are required to complete 18 credits to earn an Indigenous language certificate. Thirty instructors are currently benefiting from the grant through subsidized tuition. The province says the grant will also support adapting content and developing online courses and community-based programming.