It’s shaping up to be a banner year for First Nations awareness, and Thompson Rivers University is getting on board with a new course in the Shuswap language.
An introduction to the First Nations language Secwepemctsin is being offered for the first time at TRU as an elective course.
It’s the first course to be offered in the Developmental Standard Term Certificate program for those hoping to one day teach the First Nations language, said Dr. Jack Miller of the School of Education.
The course is also available to others who are simply intrigued by the Shuswap language and culture.
“We know many will be interested in this opportunity so we have decided to open the course to all students and anyone else who would like to register at TRU,” said Miller.
Course instructor Dr. Janice Billy, a fluent speaker, is currently teaching Secwepemctsin at Little Fawn Nursery and the Sk’elep School of Excellence on the Tk'emlups Indian Band reserve.
At Little Fawn Nursery, children age three and four are immersed in the Shuswap language each day from 8:30 to 11 a.m.
Billy has an education doctorate, having completed her dissertation Back from the Brink: Decolonizing through the Restoration of Secwepemc Language, Culture, and Identity.
Billy has a long history of preserving local First Nations culture.
In 2000, she and the Neskonlith and Adams Lake Bands were involved in establishing the Skwelkwekwelt Protection Center at Skwelkwekwelt, known in non-Secwepemc as Sun Peaks Ski Resort.
The resort is within the 1862 Neskonlith Douglas reserve and within the bands’ traditional territory.
Secwepemc language classes will be held on Mondays from 5 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. in AE 100.
Saturday dates will be scheduled throughout the semester with to immerse students more fully in the Secwepemc language.
Check out www.tru.ca to register.