The Gwich’in Mentor-Apprentice Pilot Project will support six (6) one-on-one teams including a language mentor and apprentice to complete one hundred (100) hours of immersion in the Gwich’in language between December 01, 2017 and March 31, 2018). In the project a “mentor” (a fluent speaker of Gwich’in in either the Teetlit or Gwichya dialect) is paired with and “apprentice” (learner). The mentor and the apprentice spend 100 hours together doing everyday activities using the Gwich’in language at all times. Through this method, learners become more fluent and mentors help recover the Gwich’in language by passing it on to next generation both of which have a significant healing effect. The method is similar to the way we learned language as babies by being totally immersed in it, listening to the language spoken around us as our parents went about their daily activities. The Mentor-Apprentice Program supports the use of the Gwich’in language and supports community wide efforts to ensure that the Gwich’in language not only survives, but thrives.
Program Goal and Objectives
The goal and focus of the Mentor-Apprentice Program is to have apprentices increase their fluency in speaking and understanding the Gwich’in language. While 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 dialects of the Gwich’in language, Gwichya Gwich’in and Teetlit Gwich’in;
- To support Gwich’in language preservation, revival and revitalization;
- To support Gwich’in language education of all types to become more immersive; and
- To engage youth and Elders in all language preservation, revival, and revitalization initiatives
For more information, please contact Helen Sullivan or Carolyn Lennie at 867-777-7900