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An experience of trauma during my bilingual classes

I found out this summer that the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College SIFC recently began producing teachers trained in bilingual education and they are beginning to work in the communities. On several occasions Dan Musqua has told me an ancient and times less teaching: When Cathy Nelson, the program coordinator, first approached me, I pondered the immensity of the job of teaching an oral and written communications course in a two-week period. I reviewed my learning experience in co teaching it with Anne Cook in Red Earth last year.

I remembered the teachings of Dan Musqua, Alex Wolfe, Bill Ermine and other Elders who have tutored me, and who are among the many great thinkers and keepers of traditional knowledge of our times. I thought about my friends the few that I have Willie Ermine and D. Deschambault, who have studied and written about our age-old traditions of teaching and learning. And, of course, I knew Dr. With all this help I could do it, I concluded.

It all happened very fast.

Cathy introduced me to the class and we were off and running. As it turned out the students became my teachers just as much as I was theirs.

That two-week period was literally an intellectual boot camp for us. I lectured and toiled over reading and marking their papers.

They struggled, I'm sure, to make sense of me and the work that was before them, and read and wrote deep into the night to complete their assignment projects.

They came to class each day to sit for six hours of lectures and participate in seminars. And through all that, their attendance was perfect.

  • This perception often puts limits and restrictions on them in terms of how they teach and interact with students as well as how they work with families;
  • Therefore, the specific currency used in a particular country in which the person was brought up is the one that is automatically chosen;
  • Our minds were getting really colonized there for awhile.

Photo supplied by Harvey Knight Everyday the students dealt with subject matter to which they could directly relate. First we explored the historical effects of colonialism on languages and cultures. Then we examined the nature of knowledge from an Aboriginal perspective and the methods used for learning and teaching that knowledge tough one. We struggled to see how these were all connected, and how language is connected to thinking, knowledge and culture.

Effective practices: what works in different settings

Meanwhile, outside the sun shone brightly and the green trees and grass danced in the wind. We wondered together what drove these students to commit to such intensive learning in hot summer months when they could be taking it easy and enjoying the leisures of summer life. I quickly realized from our discussions that these students are coming to the call of a greater work that they have to do in their communities- to help save the Cree language and culture!

It's like we're all realizing this at the same time. First we realized that we were all hoodwinked into believing that our First Nation languages were obsolete and a hindrance to our success in the modern world.

Then we were told that our culture was no good. To top it off we were told that we had no history and that our storytellers were unreliable sources of knowledge.

Our minds were getting really colonized there for awhile.

  1. Students are more likely to encounter success in this process when adults become partners and provide active support. I think it is connected to the fact that I live in Croatia now" P8, 24.
  2. On the other hand, emotion words learned in the second language in formal surroundings would have low emotional value. Research questions relate to identifying instances of bilinguals using L1, L2, or both languages when expressing emotions or engaging in specific cognitive processes and they have to do with the factors that might be taken into consideration in such identifications, as proposed by authors such as Pavlenko e.
  3. Due to the small number of participants, more information about their experience could not be collected. Moreover, we may hypothesize that an absolute monolingual may not even exist.
  4. The number after the comma stands for the age of that particular participant. Is it connected with a particular situation in which you use a particular language?
  5. More importantly from the point of view of a bilingual speaker, it is necessary to identify the relevant factors that might be used to evaluate the mediation of language emotionality in such individuals. Gather as much information as we can about our students.

Fortunately in the last few years, First Nations and institutions such as SIFC have taken massive action to address the effects of colonization and have set up teacher training programs to rescue and restore our languages and cultures.

Besides being offered in Prince Albert in the summer, certificate programs are also underway in Cree and Dene communities such as Red Earth and Black Lake in the winter. The program in Prince Albert is quickly gaining popularity as it is attracting students from other northern First Nation communities in which Cree is still widely spoken among the young and old.

Even though the program is being offered here only in the summer months, it does not seem to deter these students. So what is the big attraction, really? I believe that the mission of this certificate program and of its students is to prepare for continued on page 25 Bilingual Education: This means First Nation children will study and learn about the world in their own first languages from nursery through to grade twelve as well as English, of course under the tutelage of qualified bilingual teachers.

This also means that the Elders- the keepers of the classical Cree language- will again assume their role as teachers and advisors in our oral traditions of learning.

It's a massive undertaking, but the beauty of it is that it is not just the pipe dream of a few anymore. These students are on the cutting edge of this movement.