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Winnipeg school seeking Indigenous language speakers for bilingual program

A Winnipeg school is searching for Indigenous language speakers to bolster its growing bilingual programs in the new school year.

Parents Renata Meconse said Isaac Brock Public School is seeking Cree and Ojibwe speakers to support the bilingual programs this fall.

Positions available include teachers, educational assistants, early childhood educators and speakers to help teachers in language translation.

“As the program is growing and there’s more students, there’s also a need for more teachers and speakers to help support the program,” Meconse told CTV Morning Live Winnipeg in an interview Tuesday.

The immersion program is open to students from Kindergarten to Grade 7.

Meconse’s daughter started the program in Kindergarten. She is now entering middle school, and the program has grown alongside her.

Meconse has been active in trying to recruit Indigenous language speakers to help meet the need.

One way of doing that - the Winnipeg School Division is now open to hiring Indigenous language speakers who are not teachers.

“We have to look at ways of making sure that we can still have language speakers, such as elders and knowledge keepers be a part of this in a good way,” she said.

“They may not be teachers, but they still have extreme knowledge and authority to be teachers outside the western way.”

Meconse’s mother is fluent in Ojibwe but the language has not been passed down.

She hopes programs like this will set a new course for future generations.

“Programs like this are working to revitalize language, and to help families maintain it, too.”

- With files from CTV's Ainsley McPhail Top Stories

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