For the 100 students at Kihew Waciston, there’s no reason to believe Cree isn’t a vibrant spoken language.
A three-foot crucifix hangs in the foyer of St. Frances Elementary School. Down the hall, the smell of burning sweet grass becomes stronger.
Cree is in decline. Immersion and bilingual programs have popped up in the last decade and a half to stem the loss.
New Cree words are being created all the time – and old ones revived – in this sunny room at the immersion school.
The feast is tomorrow. For Strongarm, activities like this give context, meaning, and validity to the words.
In Lloydminster you won’t hear much Cree – on the streets or on the radio.
Finding qualified teachers and support staff for Cree-language programs continues to be a challenge.
In June 2009 Senator Serge Joyal introduced a federal bill aimed at revitalizing Canada’s 50 existing First Nations, Inuktitut, and Métis languages.