Community perceptions of a Cree immersion program at Cumberland House
MacKay, Gail Ann
This thesis contributes to the literature on language revitalization, a hopeful branch of research that counters the foreboding conclusions of language shift studies. It is based on data collected in May, 1998, at Cumberland House, an Aboriginal community in northeastern Saskatchewan. Fifty-five community members participated in six focus groups organized by the following criteria: administrators, school board trustees, elders, parents, students and teachers. These research participants expressed their vision, expectations, and needs related to an Aboriginal Language Immersion Pilot Program proposed by the Northern Lights School Division. Community members envisioned an education that contributes to their children's Cree and Anglo-Canadian bicultural competence. They expected the Cree immersion program in the provincial school would develop their children's Cree and English bilingual fluency. They needed training, administrative support, materials and ongoing communication between school and community. Factors that instill a sense of optimism about this language revitalization effort, include the role and status of the school, and the strong bonds of kinship and friendship in this community context. The process and content of the research project records the development and product of a research relationship between Aboriginal people. It attests to the value of community involvement in language planning and illustrates the beneficial attributes of community-based participatory action research. Overall, the thesis informs the topic of decolonization at the personal, community, and institutional level.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
SupervisorBattiste, Marie; Ward, Angela
CommitteeSt. Denis, Verna; King, Cecil
cognitive and cultural competence
Aboriginal language immersion program