CALGARY-Indigenous language education will receive support from a specialized grant program announced by the province Thursday morning.
At a press conference in the Chambers of the First Nations Council, Tsuutan, the provincial government presented a grant program for native languages in education. This is Canada's first grant initiative aimed at increasing the number of native language teachers and developing resource for nursery schools at 12th grade Native language languages.
The grant program has two streams. Instructor development has $ 4 million in earmarked financial assistance at two years for colleges and universities of the first nations and indigenous organizations with a mandate to educate early childhood education, and a nursery school for 12th level language instructors.
The second stream, in resource development, has earned $ 2 million in two years to organizations that have expertise in the development of native language resources. These include the First Nations and Métis communities, indigenous organizations, and post-secondary institutions that work with indigenous communities and organizations.
"It is a great opportunity to improve what we are working on and vital to gain access to these resources," said Stanley Big Plume, a member of the Tsuut & in Nation Council.
The deadline for submitting a grant application is 18 December.
Big Plume said there are a number of initiatives that already exist that have a positive impact on the maintenance and learning of Tsuut 'ina. He cited examples such as the Gunaha Institute, which has committed to teaching students to be a fluent spokesperson of Tsuut 'ina, and immersing a program at Tsuut' s National Schools.
Funding will help create more resources, train more teachers and other existing language initiatives in Tsuut 's province and indigenous communities throughout the province.
"It's not like building a new building, but we recognize the importance of comprehensive language learning for the first nations in schools, and we are giving them a hand by investing in training and language," Education Minister David Eggen said.
In Bruce Starlight's announcement, Elder Tsuut & # 39; ina, talked about the help that this financial assistance will provide when recording and publishing his language, and continuing to educate students who are fluent in indigenous languages.
"We have no time, our youngest spokesperson is 69 years old and our oldest spokesperson is 96 years old," said Starlight. "So, we have a lot of trouble, these very helpful means will help everyone, and I encourage you all to accept linguistics, without our languages surviving."
Eggen said that culture lived most strongly in language and that after signing the Commission's Recommendations on Truth and Reconciliation, which is preparing language and culture teaching for students in the province, it is time for the government in Alberta to "put its money on it".
"Language is a very powerful means of communicating culture and increasing student confidence in school," said Eggen.
"The confidence to see yourself in the curriculum and the classroom is a prerequisite for success in mathematics, linguistics, science and other subjects. By honoring the first languages of the first nations and Métis languages, it is a way to identify and see oneself in the curriculum , which will lead to better results. "
The Big Grande program is an important first step in partnership with provincial governments to work with other First Nations in support of indigenous languages.
"Every first nation has a common goal of preserving our language for future generations and learning in our ways and in our language and culture," said Big Plume.
Andrew Jeffrey is a reporter / photographer for StarMetro Calgary. Follow it on Twitter: @andrew_jeffrey