Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Learning through an Aboriginal language

The impact on students' English and Aboriginal language skills |


​In 2011, the CJE printed this interesting study on the impact of immersing students in a traditional language rather than adding it as a second language (i.e. vocab, a few phrases, colours, etc.)​ The authors offer important findings around cultural identity and performance in mainstream language (French or English.)

Aboriginal communities across Canada are implementing Aboriginal language programs in their schools. In the present research, we explore the impact of learning through an Aboriginal language on students' English and Aboriginal language skills by contrasting a Mi'kmaq language immersion program with a Mi'kmaq as a second language program. The results revealed that students in the immersion program not only had stronger Mi'kmaq language skills compared to students in the second language program, but students within both programs ultimately had the same level of English. Immersion programs can simultaneously revitalize a threatened language and prepare students for success in mainstream society.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Mi'kmaq apprentices build birchbark canoe

​Reclaiming things that may have been forgotten

The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq organized the program in partnership with Nova Scotia's Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

The group of apprentices is working under the guidance of Todd Labrador, a seventh generation canoe builder, learning how to transform spruce roots and birch bark into an elegant 16-foot vessel. 

Labrador hopes the program will spark new interest in his craft.
"It's a part of our culture, canoe building and basket making. That's so important, but not enough people are doing it. There's always the fear of losing it," he said.