Episode 2: Mi'gmaq
Director: Jeff Barnaby
"The language helps you think differently. It is a native way of thinking. I tell my children, ‘If you don’t have your language, how can you call yourself native?’" - Gail Metallic, Executive Director, Listuguj Education Directorate
Listuguj, Quebec is a Mi'gmaq community that lost touch with its language and values as it gained economic prosperity. The Listuguj Education Directorate wants to reintroduce the language into all aspects of community life. They're taking advantage of two powerful language tools. One important tool is a unique picture based teaching method that's made language learning as fun as being a child again. But the most important language resource is still the support of dedicated elders like John Isaac.
The Listuguj Education Directorate provides language programs that involve all age groups in the community. This segment introduces us to these various programs, from early immersion (nursery to kindergarten) to elders' involvment in the development of a Mi'gmaq calendar and dictionary. Gail Metallic, Executive Director of the Listuguj Education Directorate, is a strong advocate of the Mi'gmaq language. She is part of a generation that lost its language and only became a fluent speaker as an adult. She is integrating the language at the family level by sharing it with her grandchildren.
"The first class we had, it just blew me away. I’m like, ‘oh my God. I can do that with my students.'" - Jessica Metallic, Mi'gmaq language teacher
Listuguj is using a unique picture based teaching method, developed by Dr. Stephen Greymorning, that's made language learning as fun as being a child again. Adult language teacher Mary Ann Metallic takes us into her classroom and shows us first hand how the method works.
Elder John Isaac left Listuguj as a teenager to work in the United States. He believes the community lost touch with its language and values over the years in what he refers to as, 'the price of progess'. He is currently assisting in the Mi'gmag language revitalization movement and is proud to see a renewed interest in the language.