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The Language Conservancy Canada And The Kehkimin Wolastoqey Language Immersion School Unveil Collection Of Picture Books And Vocabulary Builders

Authentic Wolastoqiyik Materials Keep Language Alive for Future Generations 

FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK, November 18, 2022 – After years of dreaming and planning to create the first land-based, language immersion school, the Kehkhimin Wolastoqey Language Immersion School recently opened, marking a major achievement in the Wolastoqiyik’s mission to reinvigorate their language. Almost all fluent Wolastoqiyik speakers are 65+ which leaves a very short window to revitalize the language for future generations. 

Central to the school’s mission is giving children access to authentic picture books, apps, and other learning materials. To meet this need, The Language Conservancy (LLC), a nonprofit dedicated to keeping Indigenous languages alive, collaborated with the school to develop a wide range of authentic language learning materials. These include a vocabulary builder app containing hundreds of words, audio, and visuals, such as games like crosswords and matching to help enrich immersion-based learning. They feature teaching materials and picture books, including four science-themed books that help children give voice to natural elements like the water cycle, habitats, the sky, and animals. Two books unique to Wolastoqey that have not been published in any other language are part of the collection. 

The project received support and contributions from other partner organizations and nations, including the Oromocto Nation. In addition to collaborating on materials, TLC played a critical role in writing and securing grants to assist the school’s language revitalization mission. 

Lisa Perley-Dutcher, Director of the Kehkimin Wolastoqey School, says that TLC provided foundational support to the school by helping to secure funding for the development of resources – all in the Wolastoqey Language. 

“TLC staff and our Kehkimin curriculum team worked collaboratively in creating these resources so that we could offer them to parents of Kehkimin students and to all Wolastoqey language teachers,” said Perley-Dutcher. “Kehkimin Board of Directors, staff, and Elders are grateful to TLC for supporting their efforts in the revitalization of the Wolastoqey language.”

The word Kehkimin means “teach me,” and TLC CEO Wil Meya said it was an honor for his organization to collaborate with the school and other partners and contribute to the development of such rich language teaching and learning materials.  

“It is our life’s work to keep Indigenous languages alive and our collaboration with the Kehkhim Wolastoqey School is a gift we both give and receive,” said Meya. 

About Kehkimin Wolastoqey Language Immersion School 

Kehkimin is a not-for-profit organization aiming to help revitalize the Wolastoqey language through land-based immersion education. The primary mission of Kehkimin is to sustain and strengthen the Wolastoqey language revitalization movement through immersive language and land-based education that are embedded in the life ways of the Wolastoqiyik. For more information, please visit www.kehkimin.org.  

About The Language Conservancy 

The Language Conservancy is a nonprofit organization leading the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultures by developing learning materials, hosting educational events, and raising awareness for the importance of sustaining endangered languages. The Language Conservancy currently works with more than 25 Indigenous language communities throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. For more information, please visit www.languageconservancy.org.

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