NL Gazette

Conne River sets an enormous goal of restoring the Mi’kmaw language.

The project is intended to reintroduce a near-vanished language that is being beaten down or banned.

It’s a sunny Thursday at Miawpukek, a community of Mi’kmaw on the south coast of Newfoundland. A 9th-grade student is visiting the classroom behind St. Anne’s School.

While attendance is being recorded, the straggler will take the place. Then greetings, “Good morning”, hello.

But then: the fearsome word in any language-“pop quiz”. 

Students practice the alphabet and teacher Angela Christmas sings the first word “pa`si”.

It slows down and emphasizes every note, almost every letter. Pa`si means to sit down.

Then Skma means wait while kmu’j or stick and ki’s means it already happened.

After a few words, the student marks his test. and realize that he is confident in his class. 

But in reality, not all of these lessons are about spelling and translation. This course is not only at the heart of the Mi’kmaq meaning but also an expression of a generational project to restore a language that was feared to be silent in the community at some point. Also known as a Conne River.

Language and culture are mutually exclusive, and there is an old saying that one cannot exist without the other, “said Rod Jeddore, director of education at Miawpukek First Nations.

It is important for our students to regain their language and at the same time regain their culture and our traditions.

From kindergarten to 9th grade, students at St. Anne’s School in Miawpukek First Country read and speak Mi’kmaw several hours a week.

That’s not enough community leaders dream of complete immersion and improved grades-but it sets the starting point for large and emotional project reintroducing nearly vanished language which was beaten down or banned.

Read More: Conne River sets a massive goal: Restoring the Mi’kmaw language | CBC News

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