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Language and Culture (13-17)

Wolastoqey first, English second: Kehkimin launches new curriculum

November 26, 2023

Language is coming full circle for the Wolastoqey community

A woman with white hair pulled back in a ponytail wearing a grey, feather-patterned shawl stands in front of a microphone.
Lisa Perley-Dutcher is the chair of the Kehkimin school’s board of directors. (Ann Paul/CBC)

This is part of a series called Ann’s Eye, featuring the work of Ann Paul, a Wolastoqey content creator. You can see more Ann’s Eye pieces by clicking here.

CBC Indigenous: Ann Paul thinks in English first, but she hopes the same won’t be true for her granddaughter.

When Kehkimin Wolastoqey language immersion school opened in Fredericton last year, the goal was to develop curriculum at multiple levels so students could progress in the language. 

Now, three new books are doing just that. One new workbook and two storybooks are the latest learning tools for the kids at Kehkimin, located in Killarney Lodge, where Ann Paul’s granddaughter goes to school everyday.

“Language is coming full circle,” Ann said. “It’s coming back.”

She’s been relearning the language herself, but when her granddaughter comes home from school and shares new words she learned that day, Ann said it awakens the language inside her. “She’s bringing out the words that have been sleeping inside of us.”

The community held a book launch at Killarney Lodge to celebrate the curriculum release. Watch the video and scroll through the photos to see what Ann saw.

Ann’s Eye: These books will help kids learn Wolastoqey

WATCH | See a performance of a new Wolastoqey language book: Duration 3:46

Click on the following link to vivre the video:\

Three new books will help students at Kehkimin Wolastoqey language immersion school in Fredericton not only learn the language, but also bring it home to their families.

Three children's books are spread out on a white cloth.
Ann Paul said her grandchildren love the new books, adding they’re easy to understand and repetition of the Wolastoqey words helps the language stick. (Ann Paul/CBC)
Two men, one with long hair falling down his shoulders and the other with a long braid, stand in front of two microphones holding open books.
Juno winner Jeremy Dutcher stopped by the book launch to do a reading of one of the books with Wolastoq Grand Council Chief Ron Tremblay. (Ann Paul/CBC)
A group of women wearing long skirts and holding hand drums stand in a line in front of microphones.
Music group Sisters of the Drum performed at the book launch. Elder Maggie Paul also opened the event with a prayer. ‘Celebration always, when we’re together,’ Ann Paul said. (Ann Paul/CBC)
A group of people crowd around a table that has books on it. A man on one side of the table passes a book to a woman on the other side.
People got to take a book home for their families. Ann Paul took some home for her grandkids. (Ann Paul/CBC)
Five people stand together in a group, each one holding a book.
The Level 1 textbooks are just the beginning — the school wants to develop curriculum at higher levels. (Ann Paul/CBC)
Ann’s Eye

Photographer Ann Paul brings an Indigenous lens to stories from First Nations communities across New Brunswick. Click here or on the image below to see more of her work. 

A graphic drawing shows an Indigenous woman holding a camera up to her eye.
(CBC News Graphics)

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