North Island College is expanding its Indigenous language offerings this fall.

The school is adding a new certificate to its current courses in Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwak’wala.

The certificate will support the infusion of culture and draw on local fluent elders and knowledge keepers.

NIC Aboriginal Education Facilitator and developer of the new certificate Sara Child says the program is a great way to keep the languages alive.

“For most communities, the only fluent speakers are well into their 70’s, there are very few adult speakers. In addition, there is little to no support for language learning for adults or programming that leads to fluency in the language.”

She added that supporting language learning in Indigenous communities is the key to responding to reconciliation.

“The restrictions that were implemented during the residential and day school eras of colonization impacted the very heart and soul of our people,” she said.

“That legacy caused a ripple effect that was passed down the generations. The values and beliefs encoded in our languages provided the very foundation of all of our relationships; relationships with self, others, our families, communities and the natural world. Those foundations that were rooted in respect, reciprocity, responsibility and reverence of the natural world and were vital to our individual and collective wellness.”

The curriculum for the new certificate is in its final stage of development with the first course set to start in September.

Anyone interested in taking the language certificate can sign up on NIC’s interest list.