Published October 28, 2016
AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Historic Preservation Office has launched an online survey aimed at strengthening Kanien’keha (Mohawk language) in the Akwesasne community. The survey is being conducted online and gives individuals the opportunity to share their experiences and expectations to help improve how language classes are offered.
“The Mohawk language is a direct reflection of our cultural values and traditions,” said Kanien’keha teacher, Katsi’tsienhá:wi Carole Ross. Katsi’tsienhá:wi noted, “Once our language disappears; or begins to disappear; our efforts to maintain cultural values that are linked to our language become more difficult. You can’t have one without the other; language=culture=language.”
In addition to providing annual financial support to the Akwesasne Freedom School, a Mohawk language immersion school program founded in 1979, the Tribe has been offering a language learning lab instructed by Katsi’tsienhá:wi. The Mohawk language center has an easy-to-use Can 8®computerized language program produced by Akwesasne Economic Development Agency and offers instruction for three levels of proficiency: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
Individual language classes for Beginners and Intermediate; as well as for a combination of mixed ability speakers; are offered throughout the week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Advanced speakers are encouraged to make appointments with Katsi’tsienhá:wi to learn at their own convenience, with the language lab open for self-instruction for all level of speakers at any time. The lab is open to anyone who wishes to use it at any time during Tribal business hours — whether Katsi’tsienhá:wi is in the office, or not. All you need is an ID and Password which is provided for free upon request.
“The Tribe has entrusted the Historic Preservation Office with protecting, preserving and maintaining our Kanien’keha (Mohawk Language) language within the community and the workplace,” said Program Manager Arnold Printup. He noted, “We continue to welcome any community members or employees interested in learning the language for free however, with the low participation rate we are asking for the community’s help to see how we can better accommodate and improve how classes are offered.”
For the next two months, until December 19th, the Historic Preservation Office is asking for community members’ assistance in completing a short online survey, which can be accessed from the Tribe’s website at www.srmt-nsn.gov. The questions range from 11 to 23 — depending on interest in learning the language, as well as the ability to provide comments on how instruction can be improved. The survey only takes seven minutes to complete.
For more information or to join a language class, please call Katsi’tsienhá:wi Carole Ross at (518) 358-2272 or stop by the Language Lab located in the lobby of the Community Building.
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