Blackfoot and Cree Language and Culture provincial programs are available as options for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. School authorities may also use the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Language and Culture twelve-year (K-12) program template to develop a language and culture course to meet local needs.
In Alberta, and across Canada, the operation of residential schools resulted in the devastation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit languages and cultures. One path towards reconciliation is to ensure opportunities are available to practice and revitalize languages and cultural traditions and customs.
Blackfoot is one of the two most commonly spoken Aboriginal languages in Alberta. Within this language is a unique worldview. Blackfoot language and culture is about connections and relationships, tied to the belief that everything is interconnected. The inclusion of Blackfoot in curriculum helps Blackfoot-speaking First Nations communities preserve and revitalize their language. It also helps students become better aware of the Blackfoot worldview.
The wisdom of Elders is central to language and culture learning according to Cree perspective. Elders are the “keepers of knowledge” and it is their guidance that Cree people seek as they strive for balance in all relationships. Learning Cree provides all students with insights into a worldview of spiritual and natural dimensions. The learning of the Cree language can also enhance one’s self-esteem by strengthening cultural identity.