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University Of Winnipeg Offers Ojibwe, Cree Language Courses

The University of Winnipeg is teaching languages on their traditional land.

The University of Winnipeg is offering students a chance to learn the Ojibwe language on the indigenous people's traditional land.

The fast-paced, land-based language courses give students a chance to learn practices like medicine and beadwork in Riding Mountain National Park.

U of W has been a leader in promoting indigenous studies. All students at the university, regardless of their background, are required to take an indigenous studies course to graduate, according to Maclean's.

Students have the option of learning Cree or Ojibwe, or learning about topics like "indigenous self-determination," "legacy of residential schools" or "indigenous women and resilience." They can also take anthropology studies focusing on North America's indigenous groups, religious classes, or history classes focusing on Aboriginal, Metis or Inuit peoples.

The school, whose population is 12 per cent First Nations, Metis or Inuit, also offers awards and financial aid for indigenous students.

Signs at the school welcome students in Ojibwe, Cree, Dene, Michif, Dakota, and Inuktitut, and the school's website offers an "Ojibwe word of the week."

Aimee Guiboche and her 11-year-old daughter took Ojibwe classes from the university's Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre in 2015.

"My mom and dad never spoke the language to me," Guiboche told CBC News. Now, she's making sure her daughter has that opportunity.

Dr. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams talks about how universities can promote indigenous languages.

The language program was developed from an earlier immersion program where students would learn about flora and fauna in Assiniboine Park, all while practicing their Ojibwe.

“We learn the language, but then we go out and we use it,” Jarita Greyeyes told Metro News.

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