Radio brings Oji-Cree to remote communities
Wahsa Distance Education provides language courses to students in northern Ontario
Despite her dedication to passing on her traditional language, Morris' relationship with Oji-Cree hasn't always been strong.
"When I was a child, we grew up in a trap line and there was no interference from anything with our language so we were quite fluent," Morris said.
When she was 15 years old, she was taken out of her community Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki (KI) First Nation, Ont., and placed in residential school, where she was only permitted to speak English.
That's when she lost her own language.
"I remember I was very sad because I could not communicate with my grandmother when we used to write letters," she said.
"I felt as if I was nowhere, I didn't belong anywhere and that's not a really good feeling."
Eventually Morris relearned her language while in university and was inspired to teach others.
Technology helps the learning process
Once the broadcast is over, the classes are uploaded to the web, allowing students the flexibility to learn essential language skills at their own pace and time.
"When you learn any language you have to have your listening skills, speaking, reading and writing — that's how you master any language is to have those skills," Morris said.
But learning a language must extend beyond the classroom.
"You need to start at the home. You cannot only depend on the school system, because children go everywhere within their community and it needs to be done all over the community, so that the students will see how important the language is," she said.