Sask. schools to offer classes in Dene, Saulteaux and Michif languages in fall semester

High school students in Saskatchewan will have the option to take Dene, Saulteaux  (also called Nakawêmowin) and Michif in the upcoming fall semester.

10, 20 and 30 level classes will be available

Dene, Nakawe and Michif will be available at the 10, 20 and 30 level during the upcoming fall semester. (Duncan McCue/CBC)

High school students in Saskatchewan will have the option to take Dene, Saulteaux (also called Nakawêmowin) and Michif for the 2019-20 school year.

The language courses will be available at the 10, 20 and 30 levels, the Saskatchewan government announced on Tuesday.

"We recognize that incorporating Indigenous language, culture and perspectives are foundational to the engagement and success of First Nations and Métis students," Education Minister Gordon Wyant said in a press release.

The province said the language courses align with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's calls to action.

It also supports recommendations put forth by the Joint Task Force in identifying "importance of Indigenous languages and the significant role they play in preserving cultural traditions, knowledge and history."

"One day we hope to see all the linguistic groups throughout these territories represented and accessible in our schools so all our grandchildren will see themselves in their classrooms," Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson said in the same release.

The three language courses will be available in addition to Cree language courses that have been in place for years.

Dene, Nakawêmowin and Michif were previously available through local courses designed for local students.

"It is encouraging to see a Métis language included in these efforts being made within our provincial education system," Métis Nation Saskatchewan Education Minister Earl Cook said. 

"This will assist in the retention of Michif, our official language. Providing Indigenous students with meaningful opportunities to learn about and connect with their cultural heritage is key to their success."