Indigenous Languages

In the summer of 2015, the Office of First Nation and Metis Relations, U of S, initiated discussions with UVic to deliver the Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization program in Saskatchewan. In the spring of 2016, the University of Victoria was granted an exemption from the Degree Authorization Act of Saskatchewan to deliver the MILR program in Saskatchewan. Following the exemption, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between UVic and U of S. This program began in July 2016 and students will complete the program in June 2018. The MILR program is delivered through the Office of First Nation and Metis Relations at the English River First Nation Business Complex in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Currently, the MILR program at UVic is the only graduate program in Indigenous Language Revitalization in Canada. The program is being delivered in Saskatchewan “to ensure a generation of language experts will have the language and academic skills to participate and lead successful language revitalization efforts in Indigenous communities, and to develop language scholars who will have the expertise to support post-secondary instruction in the revitalization, recovery and maintenance of Indigenous Languages” (University of Victoria, 2016).

Historic Wanuskewin Heritage Park was the perfect place for Joan Greyeyes to take the new class of graduate students in Indigenous Language Revitalization for a welcoming ceremony to begin their master’s program this summer.


Biographies

The following biographies are of the students who are in the Graduate Certificate and Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization (MILR) program.

Darlene Arcand

Darlene is a First Nations woman from the Muskeg lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. She currently works for the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School system in Saskatoon, SK. Darlene completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. The Cree language has always been important to her, she has strived to build on it and learn from others.  She believes that Indigenous people need to reclaim their languages and their ways of knowing and learning.  Darlene completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Bob Badger

Robert (Bob) Badger is from Kawacatoose First Nation. Bob is the Cultural/Resource Coordinator for the University of Saskatchewan. Bob was raised by his grandparents and learned the traditional practices of the Saulteaux people. Bob completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Regina. Bob completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Jackie Buffalo

Jackie has taught for over 18 years. She was instrumental in creating a Plains Cree Y-dialect language curriculum for grades K – 8 at St. Frances Cree Bilingual School in Saskatoon, SK.  She is currently working for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council as a Cree Language Revitalization Consultant.  She completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

 

Laura Burnouf

Laura is originally from Beauval, SK which is a Metis Cree community located in northwestern Saskatchewan.  She is fluent in both the Michif and Cree languages and is a retired Faculty member of the Northern Teacher Education Program in La Ronge.  Laura continues to contribute to the revitalization of the Michif language through guest lecturing, curriculum development and working with Michif elders. She has taught at numerous elementary schools in northern Saskatchewan.  She has taught for two summers at CILLDI (Canadian Indigenous languages and literacy Development Institute) at the University of Alberta. In 2005, Laura completed a Masters of Education Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Alberta in the area of language arts and culture.

She continues her work in language revitalization in her home community of Beauval working in the Michif language. She is a strong advocate for the arts, language and culture in the community and plays guitar and piano and sings in the Cree language.  These skills come in handy through various revitalization events such as language festivals and classroom presentations.   Laura completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Anna Carriere

Anna Carriere is a fluent Cree speaker and has been teaching for over 27 years. Anna has been teaching in a bilingual Cree language program for many years. One of her dreams is that her community of Swampy Cree N-dialect speakers will continue to see the value that Indigenous languages have and will be able to pass the language on to younger generations until all children are proudly speaking Cree.  Anna completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

 

Amanda Cross

Amanda is a Plains Cree woman from the Frog Lake First Nation in Alberta, Treaty 6 territory. She has a passion for keeping her First Nations language alive for future generations to follow. Amanda completed her B. Ed from the University of Saskatchewan. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in 2017. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Pamela Fosseneuve

Pam is from Cumberland House, and she currently teaches at St. Frances Cree Bilingual School in Saskatoon. Pam completed a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree Victoria in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Helen Garvin

Helen is from the Red Earth First Nations in northeastern Saskatchewan. She is a Swampy Cree fluent speaker. The Cree language is important to Helen as she comes from a community where the Cree language is spoken by children, adults and Elders.  Helen completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Laura Grant

Laura is from Tehachapi, a small town among the oaks at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada, with the Mojave Desert to the east and the San Joaquin Valley to the west. This is the homeland of the Nuwa, also called Kawaiisu.  She is among a group of second-language learners and teachers of nuwa abigip (Kawaiisu). Her teachers are Elders Luther Girado, Lucille Hicks and previously Bettygeep Hernandez. Since 1997, Laura has assisted Indigenous communities visualize and then set up language revitalization projects and programs. She also provides training in immersion teaching techniques and curriculum development through the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center, the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival and the Indigenous Language Institute. Laura is currently working on a Master of Arts Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Malvina Iron

Malvina Iron is a fluent Cree speaker from the Canoe Lake First Nation. She is currently teaching in British Columbia. Malvina has completed both a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Education Degree from the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree through the University of Victoria in Indigenous Language Revitalization. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Alexis McLeod

Alexis McLeod is from amacīwispimawin (Stanley Mission), a small Woodland Cree community in northern Saskatchewan.   She is of Métis/Woodland Cree ancestry and introduces herself comfortably using, “tānsi, nītha ōma”.  Alexis grew up in a Cree speaking community, as a child she would spend a lot of winters and summers at the trapline with her immediate and extended family.  Alexis’ first language is nīhithowīwin or Cree in the Woodland TH-dialect.  She graduated from the Northern Teacher Education (Nortep/Norpac) in 2004.   She has been teaching for over 13 years.  Alexis has spent the majority of her career teaching the Cree Language and Culture. Alexis completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Randy Morin

Randy Morin is from the Big River First Nation, Treaty 6, located in central Saskatchewan. Randy is currently a Faculty member at the U of S in the Department of Indigenous Studies teaching courses on Cree language and culture. Randy has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Randy has a lifetime of traditional Plains Cree teachings. He is a fluent Plains Cree speaker and is an oskāpēwis (helper) for many knowledge keepers and Elders. He thanks his grandparents and parents for teaching him the Cree language. Randy completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Coreen Sakebow

Coreen Sakebow is from the Pelican Lake First Nation. She is a fluent Cree speaker. She currently teaches Cree in the Saskatoon education system. Coreen completed her Bachelor of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Coreen completed the requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Language Revitalization the University of Victoria in 2017. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Heather Souter

Heather is a Michif (Metis) with roots in the Lac Ste. Anne and Edmonton area. She currently teaches the Michif language at the University of Manitoba. She is originally from Vancouver, BC, and has resided in the multilingual Metis/First Nations community of Camperville, Manitoba, since returning to Canada in 2003. She is conversant in Michif, English, Japanese and French and is also learning Saulteaux and Plains Cree. She is a professional applied linguist for over 15 years and has worked as a freelance simultaneous international conference interpreter (Japanese and English) and taught interpretation and translation at a post-secondary institution in Tokyo, Japan.

In 2003, Heather decided to return to Canada to lend her energy to the Indigenous language retention/revitalization movement and she has been a dedicated Metis languages advocate and activist ever since. She has attended the American Indian Language Development Institute at the University of Arizona, Canadian Indigenous Language and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI) at the University of Alberta and taken graduate level courses in linguistics and linguistic anthropology at the Universities of Kansas and Lethbridge. She has developed Michif teaching and learning resources, co-written a beginners course in Michif and completed an index of “finals” (suffixes) for Michif. In 2012, Heather, together with Elder Grace Zoldy of Camperville,  was invited to Edmonton to co-teach the first-ever university level course in Michif language and linguistics (with Olivia Sammons) for CILLDI. Heather's passion is community language development and empowerment. Her academic interests include applied linguistics, particularly adult second language learning; the morphosyntax and lexicography of Michif, Nakawe (Saulteaux) and Nehiyawewin (Cree); the relationship between language retention/revitalization and health and well-being; and Indigenous cultural safety in institutional and social contexts. Heather completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Dwayne Swiftwolfe

Dwayne Swiftwolfe is a fluent Cree speaker from the Moosomin First Nation. He is a teacher in the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools at the St. Frances Cree Bilingual School in Saskatoon. Dwayne completed his Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Saskatchewan and is currently completing his Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Lorna Thiessen

Lorna is Woodland Cree, she was born and raised in Molanosa, SK where she continues to reside on her trap line which is the approximate geographical centre of Saskatchewan. She has worked for many years in the human service field. Language revitalization has always been of interest for her and her family. She is looking forward to promoting and teaching Indigenous language revitalization in her Cree language. Lorna completed a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Nora Wedzin

In the spring of 2014, the Chiefs Executive Committee of the Tłįchǫ Government nominated Nora Wedzin, the Manager of Continuing Care and Independent Living with the Tłįchǫ Community Services Agency in Behchokǫ̀, to the Cultural Coordinator position for 2014-2017. The Tłįchǫ Implementation Committee including representatives of the Tłįchǫ Government, the Government of Canada and the Government of the NWT appointed Ms. Wedzin to the position in September 2014.

Nora brings over thirty years of government program and service delivery experience to her role as the Cultural Coordinator. She has a degree in Social Work from the University of Regina and has worked in the Tłįchǫ communities as a social worker, a Child Protection Worker, a Medical Social Worker, a Manager of Child and Family Services, and most recently the  Manager of Continuing Care and Independent Living. She also coordinated the Tłįchǫ Cosmology project in 2008 funded by the federal Aboriginal Health Transition Fund which sought to develop a Tłįchǫ cultural framework and apply it to the delivery of Child and Family Services in the NWT. This work led to the publication of a report to the GNWT Standing Committee on Social Programs’ Committee to Review the Child and Family Services Act. Nora completed a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization through the University of Victoria in June 2018. This program was offered at the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations, U of S, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.