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Aboriginal female teacher & children
NWT Archives, GNWT

Strategic Approaches

The bottom line is that parents teach the ... language to their children and/or that adults use the language for significant social functions at home and in the community.
A Literature Review: Maintenance and Revitalization of Aboriginal Languages

If the community has chosen as its goal any type of full or reduced bilingualism, or true language revival, it must place the family at the centre of its strategy... the ultimate fate of the language is dependent on its use in everyday informal communication between the generations, so that children come to learn it, speak it, and identify with it in a spontaneous way.
A Guide to Language Strategies for First Nation Communities

Reversal of shift involves increasing the number of first-language speakers of a language.
Royal Commission on Aboriginal People

The solution, it is felt, lies in the communities commitment to take action and in the government's resolve to support such action.
Evaluation of the Canada-NWT Cooperation Agreement for French and Aboriginal Languages in the NWT

In order to maintain or facilitate the effective revival of an Aboriginal language, experts agree that inter-generational transmission must occur. This process is most likely to occur within families, but requires the support and reinforcement of other groups and agencies with a community, including First Nation organizations, schools, policy makers, and funding agencies.

In the Northwest Territories, many schools have taken on, or have been delegated, a primary (and sometimes exclusive) role in promoting and maintaining Aboriginal languages within the community. If the language goal within the community is cultural awareness rather than a serious attempt at fluency, this approach is workable. But if the underlying expectation is the development of a working level of fluency by children, then this approach is unrealistic.

The strategy that a community develops must reflect and be consistent with the overall language and cultural goals of the community. And these goals must be realistic in terms of the current state of the language.

For each of the five language goals identified, examples of the general strategies employed to address them are provided on the following page. If you check off those strategies that are already being applied in your community or region, you will be able to identify the language goal(s) being pursued at the present time.


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