During the Champions for Change Indigenous Education Conference, Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) announced that they have been awarded an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant of $732,000 over three years to continue efforts to stabilize Indigenous Languages.
This new project builds from an SNP research study exploring pathways to creating speakers of Ogwehoweh languages at Six Nations of the Grand River and is intended to develop additional language skills and knowledge within the Six Nations community. To achieve these objectives, the project will hire and train eight highly proficient speakers of the Cayuga language, as well as create an archive of resources for speakers and learners. For SNP, it will also create a pool of speakers and teachers who can help deliver SNP’s expanding language programming.
“When it comes to language revitalization, we recognize that it’s important to take action on several fronts,” said Sara General, Acting Director of Research and Development for SNP. “The first is to create new second language speakers, and our previous research study offered clear next steps as to how we should approach that goal. A second, but equally pressing need is to document our current first and second language speakers and create accessible archives that learners and students can use for years to come.”
The new funding will be used to provide adult learners with up to 3600 hours of intensive immersion language programming through an approach that includes working with first language speakers. It will also produce a minimum of 500 hours of audio and visual material. “Once launched, this project will be the most significant effort to stabilize the Cayuga language that our organization has ever initiated,” said SNP President Rebecca Jamieson. “This is a critical opportunity for SNP and the Six Nations community. Through this project we can work to create proficient speakers of the Cayuga language and help develop the capacity to support our current and future language programming. To say we are excited is an understatement.”
The project will formally launch in January 2019. The United Nations has also declared 2019 as the “International Year of Indigenous Languages.”