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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Custer

Bringing Our Languages Home

In 2013 I took a class in "Teaching a Second Language" in Cree. It was my minor at the University of Alberta. One day during class, I took a look around and realized that I was the only Indigenous student taking the class. There were French, Italian, Spanish and other Language teachers but there was no Blackfoot, Dene, Sioux or Cree teachers. It was then that I realized that we can't go to another country to learn a language. We only had ourselves and our communities.

After this realization, I wanted to start teaching my children Cree. I started with my then two year old. I was still quite unexperienced at methodologies so I began with simple words and counting to five. Then I started to research about how I could be a better teacher in our home and I stumbled into a Kobo book called "Bringing Our Languages Home" by Leanne Hinton. It changed the way that I taught language. I would refuse to pick up my baby until she asked me in Cree, taught her some family terms (she still remembers them all six years later) and some other simple commands such "I'm hungry, can I have some water, milk and come here". She is now eight years old and we have come a long way.

In later posts, you will see more of Scarlett because I've concentrated more of my efforts on her for the last six years.

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