Ē-kiwēyitotamāhk Kitāyisinēwinānāw: Reclaiming Our
Cree Language Through Oral Tradition

Researchers: Diane Peekeekoot, Charlotte Campbell, Emily Weenoonis and Shaun Sasakamoose. 
August 2015

What began as a project to revitalize our traditional Cree language in our school became an incredible re-awakening and revitalization of our Cree culture, and formed new bonds with Elders in our community. What we learned was that through an invitation to our community, we could learn so much, not just about our language but also to reconnect to traditional ways of teaching, learning, and traditional wisdom and ways of being spiritual. 

Through support and collaboration with Elders in our community, students at Ahtahkakoop First Nation had the opportunity to not just learn their traditional language, but to learn about culture, traditional stories, recollections and customs. An area of focus was a 30-level Cree class where Elders came to teach the language in the classroom. 

This project couldn’t have happened without the Elders from our community and the entire student body who shared a vision of revitalizing our Cree language. We are so grateful for the wisdom and sharing from all of the Elders who took part in this project. 

This project demonstrates how learning a traditional Indigenous language using traditional First Nations teaching methods is a tool not only for language learning, but also as a way to really connect with our culture. This project also explored how traditional language learning can come together with teaching through stories, and how important both language and culture are to one another: wholly interconnected with a unique way of understanding concepts, ways of knowing (epistemologies) and ways of learning (pedagogies).