SFU Squamish Language Program

A bold take on Indigenous language acquisition

What is the program?

Language acquisition is the process on how humans gain the capacity to produce and use and sentences to communicate. This program is focused on language acquisition by adult learners through complete immersion in the language. Kwi Awt Stelmexw has partnered with Simon Fraser University to offer a special full-time adult immersion program. The program will be located at the downtown Harbour Centre campus. It is a nine university course program spread over two semesters run with cohorts of 14-16 students in each cohort. The 2016-2017 cohort commences September 2016 and ends April 2017. Applications for the 2017-2018 cohort will open sometime in Fall 2016.

This Squamish Language immersion program uses the First Nations Language Proficiency Certificate program at SFU. Courses include Practical Phonetics for First Nations Languages (3)FNLG 133 - Introduction to First Nations Language I (3)FNLG 200 - Introduction to Grammar in a First Nations Language (3), and other special topics courses. Classes run Monday to Friday from approximately 9am-4pm.

What is the partnership with SFU?

Simon Fraser University is a post-secondary institution located in Vancouver, British Columbia within the territory of the Squamish Peoples. Since 1997, the Department of Linguists and Department of First Nations Studies have offered a 27-unit certificate program in "First Nations Language Proficiency". Languages they have offered this certificate include Haida, Secwepemc, and others. "This program is for students who wish to acquire conversational and literacy skills in a particular First Nations language, to teach this language in schools, or to enhance their language for cultural reasons or professional objectives."

MEDIA

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The Georgia Straight

Khelsilem embraces indigenous languages as a way to decolonize young minds

"He learned the Squamish language in young adulthood. This year, he helped design an immersion program in the Squamish language, which will begin next month at SFU.

He’s also building a coalition to pressure the federal government to enshrine indigenous-language rights. According to Khelsilem, First Nations languages are not disappearing because nobody wants to learn them or because they're too difficult to understand.

“Indigenous languages are dying in Canada because the current government policy doesn’t actually support indigenous languages,” he insisted. “The law needs to change.”"

Kwiawtstelmexw-Khelsilem7-900px

CBC News

Skwomesh language activist to launch 'trailblazing' immersion course

Simon Fraser University is a post-secondary institution located in Vancouver, British Columbia within the territory of the Squamish Peoples. Since 1997, the Department of Linguists and Department of First Nations Studies have offered a 27-unit certificate program in "First Nations Language Proficiency". Languages they have offered this certificate include Haida, Secwepemc, and others. "This program is for students who wish to acquire conversational and literacy skills in a particular First Nations language, to teach this language in schools, or to enhance their language for cultural reasons or professional objectives."