Supporting Indigenous language revitalisation through collaborative postsecondary proficiency-building curriculum




Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa
Burton, Strang
McIvor, Onowa
Marinakis, Aliki

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Language Documentation and Description


One contemporary strategy for reversing language shift undertaken by Indigenous communities includes engaging with educational institutions. In Canada language revitalisation strategies in Indigenous communities increasingly include adult language courses and programmes, often delivered through partnerships between communities and post-secondary institutions. A challenge for revitalisation strategies at the post-secondary level is creating programmes founded in Indigenous educational traditions and values within largely Euro-Western focused institutions that have themselves played a role in the colonisation of Indigenous communities. A component of shifting the legacy of colonial power relations and building Indigenous-based programmes in post-secondary institutions is to ensure these programmes are explicitly informed by, support, and respond to community needs, goals and perspectives. Here we provide a brief description of the Indigenous language revitalisation programmes offered at the University of Victoria (Canada), which seek to support the creation of new adult speakers and teachers. Our description begins with the context for the development of these programmes, and then focuses on exemplifying and discussing an Indigenous Language Teachers’ Package curriculum resource developed to support community-based language instructors as they work towards meeting their students’ proficiency-building goals. By outlining some of the complex factors taken into consideration, challenges faced, and sharing one university team’s responses to community needs, goals, and perspectives, we aim to contribute to the growing scholarship on post-secondary proficiency-focused Indigenous language programming.



proficiency-building, Indigenous second language learning, curriculum resources for Indigenous languages, language revitalisation and reclamation


Czaykowska-Higgins, E., Burton, S., McIvor, O., & Marinakis, A. (2017). Supporting Indigenous language revitalisation through collaborative post-secondary proficiency-building curriculum. In Wesley Y. Leonard & Haley De Korne (eds) Language Documentation and Description, vol 14. London: EL Publishing. pp. 136- 159