The Yukon Native Language Centre has launched a new program aimed at helping Yukon First Nation youth develop and improve their language proficiency.
Under the program, 20 First Nations youth will be paid to study their First Nation language full-time.
The Language Leaders Tomorrow program aims to support youth in developing language proficiency and help them become “language champions to carry their language into the future,” it was noted in a Dec. 14 statement from the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN).
Each of the 20 participants will follow personalized learning plans; take part in language learning as well as opportunities to strengthen their identity, cultural understanding and connection with the land and community.
“This program is an innovative example of a Yukon First Nations-led approach to language revitalization that recognizes and supports youth potential to lead significant social and institutional change over the coming years,” CYFN Grand Chief Peter Johnston said in a Dec. 14 statement.
Officials said the program takes a holistic approach to training First Nations youth for the reclamation, revitalization, protection and normalization of Yukon First Nation languages.
Among those taking the training are youth from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Kluane First Nation, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Liard First Nation, Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, Selkirk First Nation, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Teslin Tlingit Council and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.
Each will be studying their own First Nation language, which includes Hän, Kaska, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone and Tlingit.
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