NEȾOLṈEW̱, the name of our partnership, translates as “one mind, one people” or “doing things as one” in the SENĆOŦEN language. NEȾOLṈEW̱ builds on existing strong Indigenous partner connections and networks of those working at the core of Indigenous language revitalization. Together, we aim to achieve realistic language revitalization outcomes in serving as a national network of Indigenous adult language learning resources, programs, and initiatives. Through our shared endeavours, we are working to build capacity among Indigenous people and maximize the resources available to maintain, revitalize, and strengthen efforts of nation‐wide reconciliation and revitalization of the Indigenous languages of Canada.
Watch our short video (above) to learn how to pronounce NEȾOLṈEW̱. Many thanks to PENÁĆ (David Underwood) of the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board for lending his voice and to the W̱SÁNEĆ Community for allowing us to use this beautiful word to express the central principle of this partnership.
Our research encompasses five themes related to adult Indigenous language learning:
Theme 1: Environmental Scan
Operating in regional ‘hubs’, we are documenting significant sites of language revitalization across Canada. The information gathered in this sub‐project will be translated into an interactive, online map and repository to facilitate learning from and combining efforts across various types of immersion and bilingual Indigenous language revitalization projects in Canada.
Theme 2: Language‐learning Assessment Tool
As more adult Indigenous people begin learning their languages, there is an expressed need for context‐relevant assessment tools to document and evaluate their language learning progress specific to their learning situation (i.e. MAP, immersion, etc.). In our Partnership, we continue developing tools for assessment and test these with interested partner communities.
Theme 3: Sites of Adult Indigenous Language Learning and Teaching
The primary goal for communities is to advance proficiency among adult language learners and speakers, which will then further their efforts in building new speakers across generations. Research related to this theme aims to gain insights on the effectiveness and challenges of adult Indigenous language learning through various models, including Mentor‐Apprentice style programs, other adult immersion programs, including “language houses”, and language‐focused teacher training (both certified and professional‐development) programs.
Theme 4: Sites of Contribution
Adult Indigenous language learners are consistently called upon to pass on the language to others, while continuing to learn their language themselves. They inherit this responsibility (relatively) early in their own learning process. We therefore consider the language learning and teaching effects of Indigenous adult language learners as teachers, through their role as parents and grandparents (and other important kinship and community roles).
Theme 5: Language and Health & Well‐Being
Studies suggest language use directly correlates with particular health outcomes for Indigenous people. Together we explore the ways adult learners’ health is affected by their involvement in language learning and teaching, as well as the ways their efforts contribute to the health and well‐being of the communities with which we work. In addition, we explore the links between trauma and those in our communities who have the language locked inside them, often referred to as latent speakers.