Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 14: Language and Culture (13-17)

“What We Heard Report: Education Act Modernization”

December 9, 2021

The Discussion Paper “What We Heard Report: Education Act Modernization” identified three current challenges and considerations related to the effective development and implementation of language and culture programs in schools. These challenges helped to frame the engagement sessions and the questions asked in surveys.

  • Legislative: A lack of regulatory guidance to follow in establishing and sustaining immersion programs in Indigenous languages.
  • Program: A shortage of developed programs and resources in the NWT’s nine official Indigenous languages, and a lack of capacity for translating existing curriculum or developing culturally relevant materials.
  • Teaching: Challenges employing Indigenous language instructors, including availability, training and qualifications.

Key points brought up during conversations about Indigenous language education include:

  • Indigenous language programming needs to be led, developed and implemented locally.
  • Development of Indigenous language programming needs to be supported with financial and human resources.
  • Language speakers, particularly Elders, need to be able to participate in language instruction.
  • Language learning is not separate from cultural learning. The two must coexist and be built into the foundation of education.