Call for Applications - Gwich'in Language Mentor-Apprentice Program

The Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) is very excited to offer a full Mentor Apprentice language immersion program which picks up from our Pilot run during the 2017-18 fiscal year. This new program pairs fluent Gwich’in speakers with language learners for 300 hours (per year) of one-on-one language immersion. Mentors do not need to be trained teachers, only fluent Teetł’it or Gwichyà Gwich’in speakers.

We are seeking applications from community members (over 19) interested in learning or passing on the language. During the project, a fluent speaker (Mentor) of either Teetł’it or Gwichyà Gwich’in is paired with a learner (Apprentice). Together you will spend 300 hours doing everyday activities completely immersed in the language. There is a stipend of $25 per hour for Mentors and $20 per hour for Apprentices. This is a fantastic opportunity for people who already have some understanding of the language, and for teachers to improve their skills, but every committed person is encouraged to apply.

Through this method, learners become more fluent and Mentors are able to recover the Gwich’in language by passing it on to the next generation. The process is beneficial and healing to both participants. The Mentor-Apprentice method is being used to help revitalize endangered languages across Canada and around the world with tremendous results. The Gwich’in Mentor-Apprentice Program supports community-wide efforts to ensure the Gwich’in language not only survives but thrives. The sooner you apply the sooner you can get started!

The goal and focus of the Mentor-Apprentice Program is to have apprentices increase their fluency in Gwich’in.  Though reading and writing are valuable skills, an Apprentice must be able to speak and understand to become fluent. 

Program objectives are:

  • To increase the number of speakers of both Gwichyà Gwich’in and Teetł’it Gwich’in;
  • To support immersive Gwich’in language teaching and learning; and
  • To engage our youth and Elders in language preservation and revitalization initiatives.

For more information, or an application, please contact

Andrew Cienski 867-777-7937 or Carolyn Lennie at 867-777-7900