Prince Rupert School District 52 will have all kindergarten to grade 4 students learn Sm’algyax starting this September.
The district’s schools are on traditional Tsimshian territory, and Sm’algyax is the language of that nation.
Children will get 40-minutes of language instruction a week, and it will be taught by certified Sm’algyax intructors, says Roberta Edzerza, District Principal for Aboriginal Education.
The language program has already been running for 10 years in three of the district’s six schools, and enhances already on-going Aboriginal content.
Edzerza says they’re in contact with other school districts on how they can create similar language programs.
She says it’s a very important issue because many communities are losing fluent speakers.
She says the Sm’algyax language instruction program has been developing for over 30 years, and the eventual next step would be looking into creating a Sm’algyax immersion program for Aboriginal students.