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.”