The First Nations University of Canada will receive a yearly grant of $50,000 to support new scholarships for Indigenous language studies.

The additional funds will go toward the creation of three new scholarships: the Solomon Ratt Indigenous Language and Language Literacy Scholarship, the Indigenous Language Revitalization Entrance Scholarship, and the First Nation Language Instructor Certificate Scholarship.

Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann, President of the First Nations University of Canada explained the new support helps to protect and preserve Indigenous languages that are becoming endangered. “Language teaching is critically important, especially as many Indigenous languages are, or are becoming, endangered. At the First Nations University of Canada, we strive to protect and preserve Indigenous languages, which are inextricably tied to our cultures and our identities as First Nations people. With this new Indigenous Languages scholarship funding from the Province of Saskatchewan, more students can begin and finish their languages studies here at FNUniv, and that is so important for the preservation and continued use of our traditional languages here in Saskatchewan,” said Ottmann.

Advanced Education Minister Gordon Wyant said that the goal of the new scholarships is to encourage more Saskatchewan students to take part in learning indigenous languages. “The First Nations University of Canada is a leader in Indigenous language education. The goal of these scholarships is to increase the number of Saskatchewan students pursuing Indigenous languages programming,” said Wyant.

The First Nations University of Canada currently offers certificate and graduate-level programs in five Indigenous languages. The new funding is anticipated to help train more instructors of Indigenous languages throughout Saskatchewan as well as help approximately 40 students per year.

Andrea Custer, Indigenous Languages Program Coordinator and Lecturer, said that the First Nations University of Canada’s main goal is to assist Indigenous peoples in reclaiming their languages. “Despite efforts to eradicate our languages, our grandfathers and grandmothers held on to them for us younger generations. As part of the First Nations University of Canada’s mission, we are here to support the Indigenous peoples of Saskatchewan who want to reclaim their languages through a variety of language programs. The new scholarship funding provided by the Government of Saskatchewan will further support students in their determination to reclaim their languages,” Custer said.

Students wishing to apply for the new scholarships can do so through the First Nations University of Canada.