Indigenous Language Revitalization camps a new part of Library programming

Three beginner camps in Blackfoot, Cree, and Michif, the language of the Métis people, are being offered this fall in partnership with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary.

Language is a crucial part of a culture, and these sessions are intended to help revitalize language within city limits. Teneya Gwin, Indigenous Service Design Lead at the Calgary Public Library, says she hopes people will see it as an opportunity to build community.

“The Library is a place where all people are welcome,” Gwin says. “Indigenous people have the chance to reconnect to their language, and non-Indigenous people are introduced to the language.”

The camps were full within a few weeks of registration opening, and having a wait list speaks volumes, Gwin says. They had heard from the community that opportunities like this were wanted, and the Library was fortunate to partner with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre on this initiative.

“Language is so connected to culture,” Gwin says. “Language is a huge component of who you are as an Indigenous person, and a lot of Indigenous people are at risk of losing their language.”

There’s plans to offer intermediate-level gatherings starting in January for Blackfoot, Cree, and Michif, and Gwin says she hopes to be able to offer more Treaty 7 languages in the future.

Register for camps like these or view more Library programming at calgarylibrary.ca/programs, accessible with your free Library card.