Successful Practices : Showcasing Strategies that Work

Title: Nêhiyâwiwin Cree Language and Culture Program

Category: School-based Strategy

Community: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Saskatoon Tribal Council members Kinistin Saulteaux Nation, Muskeg Lake, Mistawasis, Whitecap Dakota, Yellow Quill, Muskoday, One Arrow.

Indigenous Language Group: Cree

Region: Urban

Source/School/Education Facility: Confederation Park Community School, Saskatoon Public Schools

Grade: Grades K-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

Contact Information
Lead: Melinda Brown, Community School Coordinator
Phone Number: 306.683.7180
Address: 3555 John A. Macdonald Road, Saskatoon, SK S7L 4R9

Summary Description:

The Nêhiyâwiwin Cree Language and Culture Program is a bilingual/bicultural program and a joint project of the Okicīyapi Partnership involving the Saskatoon Tribal Council, Central Urban Métis Federation Incorporated and Saskatoon Public Schools.  The Nêhiyâwiwin Cree Language and Culture Program started in the fall of 2005 at Confederation Park Community School. The program has expanded and currently offers Pre-K- Grade 5 programming. Transportation is provided.  The goal of the program is that students will leave the program fluent in Cree and able to read, write and do math in English at grade level.





This program is a bilingual early learning strategy that focuses on creating a language and culture rich classroom environment in order for students to learn conversational Cree in the “Y” dialect. Teachers are trained in the Dr. Grey Morning Second Language Acquisition Model and use this as their primary method of instruction. This methodology relies on images and immersion to teach. Nêhiyâwiwin Cree Language and Culture Program uses a curriculum originally developed by Onion Lake First Nation which is adapted by our teachers to make it appropriate for the urban setting. The program also teaches English language. Cultural teachings are an integral part of the program. Students attend feasts, ceremonies, powwows and round dances. The students are learning appropriate cultural protocols with the assistance of Linda Young, Traditional Knowledge Keeper: Cree Language and Culture Program and Mr. Wally Awasis, Cultural Teacher. We are currently administering a study on student learning using iPads and Cree Apps to enhance the student’s language learning through the Stirling McDowell Foundation.

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