Elders key to revitalization of Indigenous languages

August 13, 2014

Many involved in initiatives to save and revitalize First Nations languages point to Elders as keys to restoring traditional language and culture. Allyson Eamer, a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, has partnered with Marilyn Shirt, the Dean of Indigenous Language at Blue Quills First Nations College in Alberta, on a project that would allow Elders to gain certification to teach languages online through video conferencing. Elders are often the most fluent speakers of traditional languages, but may not have teaching credentials. As well, it is often difficult for learners to travel to the Elders to receive instruction. “We’re working on ways to get Elders technology training, some language pedagogy training and being able to reach across time and space and teach the language to people without people having to travel,” said Eamer. The women have applied for funding for a pilot version of their project. A Native Language Teachers’ Gathering held last week at Algoma University also focused on Elders as key carriers of traditional language and knowledge. Elders at the gathering were connected with younger language teachers in order to share resources, techniques, and best practices. DurhamRegion.com | CBC | AlgomaU News