A Study of Saulteaux Culture With Emphasis on Language and Its Implications for Schooling in English
This study examines the cultural and linguistic background of Saulteaux Indian children and its relationship to the language difficulties the primary pupils experience in school where English is the language of instruction. The research was done while the investigator was employed as a teacher in the elementary school in the Saulteaux village of Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba from 1952 to 1967. The data were collected by means of formal and informal interviews and conversations with informants, by observation of children and adults, and by keeping records of these interviews and observations. The analysis of data revealed that although EuroCanadian contact has affected the religion, the social organization and the economy of the Red Sucker Lake Saulteaux, the hunting, trapping, and fishing economy has not yet disappeared. Analysis of linguistic data disclosed the fact that Saulteaux concepts regarding their environment, and their concepts of space and time are reflected in their language and differ from the concepts expressed in the English language. The resulting linguistic difficulties which primary children have in meeting the objectives of the Language Arts Program were presented. The investigator offered several suggestions, regarding teachers and the school program which would be considered useful in facilitating the language program of these pupils.