Province announces historic partnership to protect, promote Aboriginal languages

A new partnership between the Manitoba government and educational leaders throughout the province will respond to recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report made earlier this year to promote and preserve Aboriginal languages, Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum announced today.

“Language is a critical component of cultural identity, and the Manitoba government recognizes the importance of working with our partners in the Indigenous community to protect and promote Aboriginal languages,” said Minister Allum. “This partnership agreement will provide us with a framework to ensure our language strategy reflects the diversity of Indigenous communities throughout this province.”

Developed with the guidance of elder representatives from all seven Aboriginal language groups recognized in Manitoba (Cree, Dene, Michif, Ojibwe, Inuktitut, Dakota and Oji-Cree), the goals Manitoba Aboriginal Languages Strategy partners are to:

  • develop a system for sharing resources and expertise,
  • create a partnership agreement to keep Aboriginal languages alive,
  • establish an Indigenous research group focusing on Aboriginal languages,
  • develop a communication strategy to promote Aboriginal languages; and
  • promote and develop land-based teacher training with the purpose of producing more fluent speakers/teachers.

Representatives from the lead partners on the strategy working group were on hand to sign the partnership agreement today.

The Manitoba Aboriginal Languages Strategy is part of the province’s new four-point plan for Indigenous education based on recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, announced earlier this year, which supports the meaningful participation of Indigenous people in the social, cultural and economic life of Manitoba, Minister Allum noted.

He said as part of the new plan, the Manitoba government will:

  • release a new First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education policy framework document, which will ensure all Manitoba students learn about the histories, cultures, traditional values, contemporary lifestyles and traditional knowledge of Indigenous people, the legacy of residential schools and the significance of treaties;
  • introduce proposed legislation this fall to enshrine the new policy framework and include a requirement for it to be reviewed and renewed every three years;
  • update the current provincial curriculum to reflect Indigenous history and perspectives including the ‘60s Scoop; and
  • work with post-secondary institutions to develop a strategy for introducing more Indigenous content into bachelor of education courses to support teachers to help students meet the learning outcomes set out in the new policy framework.

Manitoba Aboriginal Languages Strategy partners:

  • Aboriginal Languages of Manitoba Inc.,
  • Frontier School Division,
  • Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre,
  • Manitoba Métis Federation-Louis Riel Institute,
  • Northlands Denesuline First Nation,
  • Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre Inc.,
  • Red River College,
  • Opaskwayak Cree Nation,
  • School District of Mystery Lake,
  • Seven Oaks School Division,
  • University of Manitoba,
  • University of Winnipeg,
  • Winnipeg School Division,
  • University College of the North,
  • Manitoba Inuit Association, and
  • Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning-Aboriginal Education Directorate/ Instruction, Curriculum and Assessment Branch.