Aboriginal students on P.E.I. will soon be able to study the Mi'kmaq
language and culture in public schools.
Island First Nations community will get an opportunity to help promote
a language that is almost disappearing on the island.
children are taking advantage of their summer camp to improve their
knowledge of the Mi'kmaq language.
until now, students at John J. Sark Memorial School on Lennox Island
were the only P.E.I. students to get Mi'kmaq language training
which ends at Grade 6.
in September, two other schools will start offering courses.
Intermediate and Mount Stewart Consolidated will both have classes
for Grade 7 in Mi'kmaq language and culture.
it goes well, they'll add other grades.
we're doing is to respond to a First Nation priority which has been
long standing with them. They understand that language is really
part of their culture and really speaks to their identity," said
Darrell DesRouches, an Aboriginal and diversity education specialist
with the Department of Education.
province's decision to offer the classes within the English school
boards is going over well on Lennox Island.
means students can continue to learn Mi'kmaq once they move on to
Grade 7, off reserve.
don't want to drop my culture once I move to a different school.
I want to keep it and then take it on a next step," said Destiny-Lynn
Myers, a Grade 6 student.
stepfather ... he knows how to speak few words in Mi'kmaq so then
when we come home sometimes we just say few words and he tries to
guess what we say," said Briana-Lee Ballem, another Grade 6 student.
likely, parents and grandparents of these children were not allowed
to speak their own language when they were in school.
do have a long way to regain the grounds but I'm sure that eventually,
if it's kept on the right track within the curriculum, that it would
be brought back," said Anthony Mitchell, a Lennox Island resident.
in the Lennox Island community feel that once these kids better
understand the language they'll have a stronger appreciation and
connection with the Mi'kmaq culture.