Building the nests : indigenous language revitalization in Canada through early childhood immersion programs




McIvor, Onowa

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Indigenous languages in Canada are critically at risk of extinction. Many Indigenous communities are working hard to save their languages through various methods. One method proven to be largely successful in other parts of the world is early childhood heritage language immersion programming, which is commonly known as a 'language nest' program. However, this method is sparsely employed in B.C. and Canada as a method of language retention and revitalization. Using qualitative research methodologies involving observations and interviews this study included key community members in two Indigenous communities which have developed 'language nest' programs. The goal of the observations and interviews was to identity factors contributing to successes and challenges in initiating and maintaining 'language nest' programs. The findings of the study indicate that the 'language nest' model is adaptable to the First Nations context in Canada. The findings combined with a literature review yielded practical recommendations for other communities and possibilities for future action.