A new podcast series from a project of the First Nations University of Canada and community members aims to revitalize endangered languages.
On Thursday, the Saskatchewan-based university launched the pîkiskwêwin podcast project, a collection of Indigenous and community-led programs aimed at “preserving, protecting and interpreting First Nations history, language, culture and artistic heritage Nations,” according to a press release. Release.
The title, pîkiskwêwin, means “tongue” in Cree.
There are over a dozen podcast series that are part of the project, covering a range of topics, from parenting to cooking.
Samson LaMontagne, who is one of the hosts of the podcast projects, is an educator from Saskatoon who teaches Michif through social media and YouTube. Michif is a combination of mostly Cree and French which is the most commonly spoken Métis language.
“I believe that every student I have who speaks Michif brings the language back to life and keeps it alive,” he told CBC host Leisha Grebinski. Saskatoon morning.
LaMontagne said he started learning Michif eight years ago when he discovered it was on a list of endangered languages.
The vast majority of First Nations and Métis languages in Canada are endangered, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
According to the University of Saskatchewan, many of Saskatchewan’s languages, including Saulteaux, Nakota, Dakota, Lakota and Michif, “are critically endangered and are now rarely, if ever, learned by children as a first language. “.
“There is an urgent need to actively work to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages - before we lose more of our knowledge keepers, our speakers and our fluent teachers,” said Jacqueline Ottmann, President of the First Nations University in Regina, in the press release.
“With this podcast project, there is an incredible opportunity to facilitate and support increased teaching, learning and sharing of our Indigenous languages, not only in our home Treaty 4 territory, but in all territories across the country. Turtle Island and the World.
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Shannon Avison, project supervisor for the podcast project, said it’s about “living in the language, laughing in the language and even loving in the language”, referring to a romance advice show and relations being produced in Cree.
Avison said Alex Pelletier, one of their podcasters, recently passed away. He and his sister, Beatrice, taught a Michif-language cooking show called Mawmaw Sachweezin.
Avison shared the story of a young podcaster listening to the show with her Michif-speaking grandmother, who recognized the words of her childhood podcast growing up.
“They say when an elder passes, a library disappears, and that’s how we feel,” Avison said.
Some of the project’s podcasters are not fluent in native languages, but work on a topic and develop part of the show script with fluent speakers.
The project is funded through March 2023, but Avison hopes the podcast series will continue beyond that.