On Monday May 30, Potlotek Education held their very first Mi’kmaw Language night. We had the opportunity to sit down with Jasmine Marshall to discuss how it went.
Where did the idea for the Language night come from?
A couple months ago, I was approached by one of the Co-Education Directors about trying to work together with the other Mi'kmaw Language teachers and the Language Department to start to develop a language plan. From that conversation, we began having meetings with the other language teachers and the Language Department regarding our own plan of action. We needed to decide what goals we wanted our students to meet and how we could help them to achieve these goals. The first few meetings ended up being a lot of discussions about why the language wasn't used anymore and what obstacles we have noticed that our students were facing that were preventing them from becoming speakers.
One of the suggestions to help to get the community involved would be to have a "Language Appreciation Night". This would be a big celebration where the community could come to honor the language with our students so that hopefully the students would see the language being important to their parents/guardians and having the parents/guardians see how much language the students knew based on their level of participation. We hoped that this would inspire families to make language more of a priority at home to help those of us trying to teach language within the school setting.
Who was involved in making the event happen?
The meetings included the following: Education Directors - Noelle and Amanda, Rosemary Marshall, Anne Landry, Lorena Tracey, Anne Marie Marchard, Beverly Johnson, Nicole Campbell and myself. The actual event included other teachers in the school, TA’s and some student volunteers.
What is the hope for the future?
Personally, my hope is that this event becomes huge for Potlotek. I hope this becomes, at least, an annual thing. I hope that the community realizes that the school needs help with language revitalization and that it could be made fun! Speakers can realize their worth coming to these events once they realize that they can be a part of bringing the language back for the younger ones.
This was just a pilot and I hadn't seen one done or heard of anything similar anywhere. This created awareness. This was not only a celebration of language but a way for us to reel families into the school to let them know that their help with language would be greatly appreciated.
Great Job Potlotek!