Sask. high schools to learn Nakota language

Starting in September, high school students in Saskatchewan will have the opportunity to learn the Nakoda language.

The new provincial Nakoda courses will be available at the 10, 20 and 30 level starting in the 2021-22 school year.

Created in partnership with Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation, this initiative began to preserve the Nakoda language.

From there, the nation approached the Ministry of Education with their interest in making the locally developed course available province-wide.

The new curriculum aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action and the First Nations and Metis PreK-12 Education Policy Framework in order to preserve cultural traditions, knowledge, and history.

The Nakoda curriculum is in addition to other Indigenous language courses already available provincially, specifically Cree, Nakawe, Dene and Michif.

Senior Indigenous Advisor for Ministry of Education, Angella Pinay, said that they are excited to be offering these classes for Grades 10 to 12.

“We know that incorporating Indigenous languages and cultures is essential for the success of all students in understanding our country’s history. We are just looking to improve student outcomes and we know that this is one good way to do it,” said Pinay.

Chief Brady O’Watch of Carry the Kettle said that with the limited number of Nakoda language speakers on reserve, this is an important move toward promoting and preserving the language.

“My goal is to one day arm out children with their language, culture and traditions, so when they go to post-secondary they can be confident and stand up for who they are,” said O’Watch.

O’Watch said that it is vital to educate the Indigenous generations to come so that their language and traditions live on.