College launches new Indigenous language courses

Indigenous Education, Red River CollegeToday, Red River College opened registration for two new Anishinaabemowin language and culture courses, created to support Indigenous language revitalization in Manitoba schools.

“As a College, we are taking the lead to provide more opportunities for educators to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous language and identity, and to continue to strengthen partnerships with Indigenous learners in our community,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

The new courses are the first of their kind to be offered by RRC, and will be delivered through a partnership between its Schools of Indigenous Education and Continuing Education.

As a key signatory to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, RRC has responded to an identified need to fill the gap in opportunities for educators to learn to speak, read and write in traditional Anishinaabemowin languages. In doing so, the College will also help support and enhance Indigenous academic success.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called for action to protect the right to Indigenous languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses,” says Chartrand. “As a learning institution, it is critical for RRC to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, perspective and content to create innovative and relevant programming in order to achieve this.”

Curriculum was developed by a working group comprised of representatives from RRC and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, as well as the Winnipeg, Seven Oaks, and Louis Riel School Divisions. The group’s priority was to ensure RRC could create programming that provides students with a deeper knowledge and understanding of Indigenous culture and language history.

The courses will merge Western and traditional teachings styles, with the overall goal of preserving Anishinaabemowin languages for generations to come.

The Introduction to Anishinaabemowin Language and Culture course — geared to non- or semi-fluent speakers — begins in February 2018, while the Level 2 course for intermediate and fluent speakers starts in the spring.

Both will be offered on a part-time basis to K-12 educators in the province, and to anyone else who may be interested.

“Language and culture is such an integral part of our identity and sense of self, so as a post-secondary institution it’s important to support and create more learning opportunities for Indigenous learners in our province and across the country,” says Chartrand.

“These courses will help fill an important gap that’s missing in our classrooms currently, and will create more resources for students to take these skills and drive change in our communities beyond the traditional school setting.”

Registration for both courses is now open. Full course descriptions and registration information can be found at rrc.ca/acl.