Efforts to keep traditional languages alive see growth, but require sustained supports

January 9, 2019

As mother-tongue speakers become more uncommon and proficient second-language speakers edge toward retirement, the Globe and Mailhighlights the difficulties of keeping traditional languages alive. David Underwood of the WSANEC Saanich territory teaches SENCOTEN through a University of Victoria and WSANEC School Board partnership program. “The parents wouldn’t speak to their children in the language. There was always a fear that their children would be apprehended,” Underwood said. WSANEC administrator Tye Swallow said that the LAU WELNEW Tribal School provides a SENCOTEN immersion program between preschool and Grade 5, and that enrollment has risen from eight students in 2013 to 91 today. The article points to the growth of Indigenous second-language speakers noted by StatsCan as a potential source of hope, and calls for continued efforts from governments to support language revitalization. Globe and Mail (National)