Free Mi'kmaw language class offered for Indigenous P.E.I. residents

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The Introduction to Mi’kmaw Language course will be taught by lecturer Doris Googoo. (CBC - image credit)
The Introduction to Mi’kmaw Language course will be taught by lecturer Doris Googoo. (CBC - image credit)

Indigenous people on P.E.I. who don't already speak the Mi'kmaw language can now get started on learning it at UPEI, at no cost.

The course is being offered as part of UPEI's commitment to truth and reconciliation.

Among the 94 calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015 was one urging post-secondary institutions to develop courses on Indigenous languages.

"UPEI offers this course in peace and friendship, and we hope it will allow participants to learn and share knowledge from the comfort of their homes and Indigenous communities," Gary Evans, interim dean of the Faculty of Indigenous Knowledge, Education, Research, and Applied Studies, said in a news release.

Introduction to Mi'kmaw Language will be offered online and taught by lecturer Doris Googoo. It is available in both the fall and winter semesters, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 7:15 p.m.

Lennox Island First Nation member Judy Clark, UPEI's elder in residence, has taken the course, and told CBC's Island Morning it is an important aspect of understanding Mi'kmaw culture.

"Everybody is worried that they might say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing," said Clark. "It's like any language, I guess. They get to converse and understand."

The same course is offered as an elective to UPEI students as part of a minor in Indigenous Studies.

The university news release said Indigenous community members registering for the course will receive a bursary that is equivalent to the course fee.