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E-kiweyitotamakh Kitayisinewinanaw Reclaiming Our Cree Language Through Oral Tradition

Project #247

Charlotte Campbell Diane Peekeekoot

Summary:

Ahtahkakoop School Research Team

This project was student-driven and came about as the result of a school survey sent home to families. Students had expressed the desire to learn their traditional language, Cree, and the goal was to revitalize traditional Cree language in the school. An invitation was issued to community Elders to share lunch at the school as part of a culture day. This was the first step in the collaboration between teachers, staff, students, Elders and the community.

This project was unique by allowing Elders to lead language learning with high-school-aged youth in Saskatchewan. Five consecutive Cree classroom sessions with the Elder were video-recorded, along with interviews from each of the teachers involved. Students wrote a biography describing the experience and what it meant to them.

The project saw a reawakening and revitalization of Cree culture. Some of the content shared by the Elders went outside of the teaching plan, the students would ask the Elder questions about topics not planned, but it resulted in a high level of student interest, engagement and attendance. Based on the success of the project, plans have been put in place to match an Elder with each classroom.