Museum hosting Blackfoot language classes

The Galt Museum along with the Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society and the Blackfoot Resource Hub have been hosting Blackfoot language classes for the last few months.

The Galt Museum has been offering Blackfoot language opportunities in several different forms for a number of years. These forms have included workbooks, online and in person classes.

In March of 2024 the Galt Museum decided to run a 16-week Blackfoot language course with the help from other Indigenous organizations in the city.

Kristin Krein, Community Program Coordinator at the Galt Museum, says its been an incredible experience hosting these lessons at the museum.

"It's been exceptionally enjoyable to learn from them and to build community together and to have a blast bringing Blackfoot language in a in a big way to our community," said Krein.

Crystal Oka, an Indigenous Language and Culture student at Redcrow College, met Krein at a Blackfoot convention she was presenting at for school. Krein asked if she would be willing to help teach the Blackfoot language. Oka says teaching these lessons has help her feel more confident with public speaking.

"It's really give they give me confidence. I'm going to be a Blackfoot instructor and it just kind of helped me to when I had to do presentations," said Oka.

The lessons are held at the Galt Museum from 6 to 8 p.m. with supper being held at 5:30. Everyone is welcome to these meetings, in fact non-Indigenous people are encouraged to attend.

For Dorothy Medicine Crane, Oka's classmate and another Blackfoot language instructor, seeing the enthusiasm of white people learning the language is her favourite part.

"We had some people that came to every class that's how interested they were in learning. I was just so amazed at how many people wanted to learn the language," said Medicine Crane.

Oka also enjoyed seeing the progress of the participants and hopes the language lessons will help create more unity in the city.

"Learn from each other and grow as one. We're all one and we all come together," said Oka.

Although June 27 is the last day of classes, Krein hopes all members of the community come out and enjoy the Blackfoot language.

"I hope people can take opportunity to come to the the last ones to celebrate and participate with us," said Krein.

The Galt Museum will be releasing a new Blackfoot Language workbook in the fall of 2024.

Alexandra Noad, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald