What am I doing to keep the Haida language alive?, teacher asks

  • Dec. 1, 2008 4:00 p.m.

A Massett teacher asked school trustees to reflect on the question “What am I doing to keep the Haida language alive?” in a presentation at last week’s school board meeting. Maureen LaGroix, the Queen Charlotte District Teachers’ Association aboriginal representative, said Haida is an example of an endangered language which could survive if there is enough community interest and educational programs. “Our Haida language is our roots. Our Haida language is who we are,” she told trustees and members of the public. She gave several statistics, including that 10 aboriginal languages in Canada have become extinct in the last century, and that second language learners account for more than half of the speaking population among some of the nation’s most endangered aboriginal languages. “I share the statistics with you because we have so few elders left in Skidegate and Old Massett,” Ms LaGroix said. “I ask each one of you, what am I doing to keep the Haida language alive? Or, what am I going to start doing to keep the Haida language alive? The Haida language needs everyone’s support fully.” The percentage of Haida students in islands schools has been steadily rising and Ms LaGroix also shared the latest statistics on these numbers. G.M. Dawson secondary has the highest percentage of aboriginal students at 80 percent, according to her numbers, taken from a January 2008 Ministry of Education report, while Port Clements elementary has the lowest, at 22 percent. Overall, district pupils are 63 percent Haida or other aboriginal, and 37 percent non-aboriginal. Ms LaGroix said she wondered if the amount of Haida content in the curriculum was reflective of these numbers. She also asked the board to develop a plan to recruit more certified Haida teachers to work in the district and to hire only teachers who have taken at least one BC First Nations history course. She would also like to see all teacher training institutions make a BC First Nations history course a graduation requirement.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mohawks propose temporary Indigenous police for Wet’suwet’en territory

The RCMP has already committed to ending patrols along a critical roadway

Talks with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs enter second day

Federal and provincial ministers ready to extend discussions

Wet’suwet’en herreditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

Work will stop once Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs begin talks with province and feds

RCMP cease patrols on Morice West Service Road

Withdrawal opens door for talks today between hereditary chiefs, province and federal gov

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read