- People attending the Akaitcho Assembly say they want to improve
aboriginal language services in their N.W.T. communities.
delegates suggested paying elders and teaching syllabics.
say a lack of money and a cumbersome bureaucracy interferes with
getting more people fluent in their native languages.
are often considered great teachers, but many of them aren't paid
as such when they help children learn their native language, the
chief Darrell Beaulieu wants the territorial Education Department
to recognize them and pay them as teachers.
the N.W.T. Education Act says, 'no, your elders have to have a university
degree to teach the language.' There is no university that teaches
our elders their language," says Beaulieu.
elders are probably the professors in this area here."
discussion concerning the importance of saving native languages
lasted for hours at the Akaitcho Assembly.
delegates spoke about teaching people syllabics as well as how to
Marlow of Lutsel'Ke, says on his travels he found that syllabics
form much of the curriculum among the Dene communities in Manitoba,
Saskatchewan and Alberta.
really happy when the little kids, real small kids speak Chipewyan.
Nobody talks English. In Lutsel'Ke everybody talks English. It's
not right by me,"says Marlow.
Heron, from the Salt River First Nation in Fort Smith, wants the
Akaitcho to control government money earmarked for language and
representatives say a lack of funding is one of the major challenges
in the battle to preserve language.
Akaitcho government's language co-ordinator works part time and
community programs that already exist have limited resources.
people at this meeting say pressuring schools to bring in a stronger
language curriculum may help.