by Blair McBride
This is the first installment of a two-part series.
As summer temperatures rise and greenery grows everywhere, Dolly “Dee” Pierrot is beginning a 10-month journey to get closer to her Indigenous roots.
Pierrot is among 80 participants in the 2021-2022 Mentor-Apprentice Program (MAP) that pairs a fluent speaker of an Indigenous language with a learner. The goal of MAP is to boost the ability of apprentices to understand and speak their language over a 10-month period, with seven to 10 hours of immersion sessions per week. The program operates under the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE)’s Indigenous Languages and Education Secretariat.
The 2021-2022 MAP offering pairs training in Inuvialuktun, Gwich’in, Dene K’ede (Sahtu Got’ine), Dene Zhatie, Tlicho and Denesuline (or Chipewyan).
Pierrot’s teacher, Mary Jane Blancho, is instructing her in Dene K’ede, the language spoken in Fort Good Hope and in the Sahtu region, where both women are from.
They were in Yellowknife on July 8 and 9 for a training session at the Explorer Hotel for the 12 pairs of Tlicho and Dene K’ede language participants. Sessions for the Inuvialuktun and Gwich’in pairs are due to be held in Inuvik on July 13-14 and in Yellowknife on July 20-21 for Dene Zhatie and Denesuline participants, said Angela James, director of the Indigenous Language Revitalization Initiative.
MAP began as a pilot in the NWT in 2019-2020. During the 2020-2021 program, 74 participants completed the 10-month course.
McBride, M. (2021). Indigenous language mentorship program kicks off in YK. Retrieved 26 July 2021, from https://www.nnsl.com/news/indigenous-language-mentorship-program-kicks-off-in-yk/