Language and Culture (13-17): Background Content

Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics

March 9, 2020


Indigenous Language Revitalization

Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics – Applied Current Indigenous language maintenance, revitalization and recovery work is an unfortunate reality due to the destructive colonial forces on our languages. Despite the external causes for the efforts now needed, the responses and recovery work must be driven and directed by Indigenous peoples themselves. That is, this Indigenous Language Revitalization movement must be inherently self-determined and self-governed, and therefore Indigenous-led.

Nonetheless, Indigenous language revitalization work is most effective and thus most expeditious, when research-informed and ally-supported. Those working in additional language learning and Applied Linguistics hold special knowledge and skills that could be extended to Indigenous Language Revitalization to great gains. Therefore, an important next step on this journey of Indigenous language revitalization, maintenance and recovery is then, “Building a bridge across the divide” of the fields of Indigenous Language Revitalization and Applied Linguistics for the rapid advancement of Indigenous languages. A stronger partnership across these fields could benefit both groups in multiple ways.

All panelists will share examples of Applied Linguistics informed practices in Indigenous Language Revitalization contexts and discuss the benefits that the inclusion of Indigenous language contexts brings to Applied Linguistics research, and conversely, the benefits Applied Linguistics research brings to Indigenous language teaching and research. Further, panelists will share ideas for more prolific dialogues within Applied Linguistics toward explicit inclusion of Indigenous Language Revitalization focused topics and approaches. Allied panelists, while bringing examples from the field, will also bring a challenge and invitation to their colleagues to better inform themselves of Indigenous Language Revitalization practices and research. Indigenous panelists will explore the relationship between their work and the field of Applied Linguistics, as well as potential for stronger links and partnerships in the space between.

This panel explores sharing of knowledge across these two fields of study, and argues for greater collective engagement in this work (McIvor, 2018). Working across these two fields more purposefully, would build capacity amongst both Indigenous Language and Applied Linguistics scholars, and maximize the resources available to maintain, revitalize and strengthen nation-wide reconciliation and revitalization efforts of the Indigenous languages of Canada. The papers presented argue for greater connection between the two fields and exciting and useful outcomes subsequently available to both.

May 30, 2017


The Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics commitment to Reconciliation

University of Saskatchewan – “In response to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action pertaining to language and culture, our organization voted to make truth and reconciliation part of its official mandate by committing to support the work of communities, elders, researchers, educators, and students in maintaining, revitalizing and strengthening Indigenous languages,” says Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, associate professor of language and literacy education at the University of Regina, and current president of the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics (ACLA). Sterzuk says one way ACLA will meet this mandate is through a collaborative research project focused on gathering community and academic knowledge on Indigenous language revitalization, teaching, learning and research ethics and housing it all on one website.

“The site – intended for settler applied linguists and other language educators, such as classroom second language teachers – will allow people to see what’s happening in Indigenous communities around language revitalization, to find out about protocols and to show people how to go about doing this work in good ways,” says Sterzuk. Sterzuk explains that the main goal of this project is to change the way applied linguists think about Indigenous languages.

“We are not the experts here,” says Sterzuk. “Acquiring Indigenous languages is different from acquiring French or English, and treating the teaching and learning of Indigenous languages by and for Indigenous communities in the same way we do for settler contexts doesn’t work.”

Other Background Content By Theme

Building Reconciliation Forum

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The Glendon Declaration

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Indigenous Languages in Canada

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