Manitoba

Winnipeg School Division to study indigenous immersion

Winnipeg School Trustee Kevin Freedman wants the division to play a role in empowering indigenous people by helping restore those languages.

Trustee says the province's largest school division can help restore lost language and culture

Winnipeg School Division trustee Kevin Freedman introduced a motion for the division to come up with a plan to create an indigenous immersion program. (Facebook)

The Winnipeg School Division is on the road to creating an indigenous immersion program.

Trustee Kevin Freedman brought forward a motion Monday night for a program he said could help restores lost languages.

"I've worked in the inner city for much of my career and I've spoken with many people who have effectively lost their language and their family through a history of policies by our government and by treatment at the local level as well," Freedman said.

"I feel that we have a very disempowered indigenous community in Manitoba and I think that language is equitable with empowerment. I think that it's very important for this large population we have a significant population in Manitoba to be able to be educated in the languages of their ancestors, if they so choose and I think that the Winnipeg School Division has got the resources, the expertise, the student body and the will to implement such a program and I think it's about time we do," Freedman said.

The administration has until November to come up with a detailed plan on how it would implement the program including the number of teachers and resources necessary to maintain a comprehensive immersion program.

"We have to get enough teachers that can teach for at least the elementary years," Freedman said.

The report is expected in November, but Freedman admits it could take anywhere from four to six years to get such a program up and running.

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