Native Montreal seeks teachers to revive Indigenous languages
Fall classes are open to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students
An organization dedicated to providing services to the Aboriginal community of Montreal is looking for language teachers.
Starting this fall, Native Montreal plans to provide language classes in Innu, Cree, Mohawk, Abenaquis, Anishnabe and Inuktitut.
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Philippe Meilleur, the executive director for Native Montreal, said enrolment and interest is booming — with nearly 300 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students of all ages signing up for classes.
"The main difficulty is the fact there is so little fluent speakers," Meilleur said. "There is a limited amount of teachers out there."
The goal is not only for students to learn the language in the classroom but to connect with culture through song, cooking lessons and shared activities in a way that is suitable for all ages.
"All classes are very much a community-based approach," Meilleur said.
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In the past, the organization has offered classes in Mohawk, Cree and Innu. This is an expansion project but finding teachers in the region who are fluent in certain languages has been challenging.
"Once you start working on this kind of issue, you realize there are no materials, there is not a lot of dictionaries, there are different levels of development depending on the language you're working in."
He hopes that the province will start providing funding to match the federal government in order to better develop language classes and programs.
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The classes start in late September and run until the end of December. They will take place on weekends and weeknights at Native Montreal and other locations.
The initial deadline for potential teachers to apply was July 3 but interested applicants can still apply online.