Petitpas Taylor is the chief educator at Havert Creative based in Los Angeles, California. Here is an edited version of an interview with her.
What has happened in French-speaking Quebec that has sparked a resurgence of interest in historic Indigenous languages in Quebec and the rest of Canada?
The level of past neglect and suffering by Indigenous peoples from colonialism and Aboriginal dispossession is very evident to Canadians in general. Therefore the Quebec resurgence in Indigenous languages and literature is one more way to try to educate Canadians and others about the past and present realities of Indigenous peoples.
What is a great difference in approach and approach to language-based learning that is about to take place in Canada’s Acadian country?
The great difference is in the educational system. In the development of this new school in New Brunswick, we are trying to transform the educational system and related policies and activities, especially in the French-speaking society and to use Indigenous language only as an alternative to French. We also want to change their historical perspective from the perspective of Indigenous peoples in their historical colonialism.
What role can Latin play in promoting French and Indigenous languages?
In Latin, there is a language of vast knowledge and understanding and that’s our advantage in trying to promote Indigenous languages. Because Latin brings to people rich experiences in the past, contemporary, and future use of languages and languages themselves, this is something that helps us many times in our new educational program.
If I visit one of our educational programs, if you don’t know something about a certain topic, you can Google it. If I visit something in them, you can see it on a website. Often you see on the pages of the websites there are scientific articles and other materials about the history of this subject, in another language of course.
What can be done to take advantage of Latin’s rich connections to Indigenous languages?
That’s really the future goal of our project and our program, that we work on integrating Indigenous language into Latin literacy by using new tools to integrate Indigenous language texts in Latin in the world of languages. That’s also a part of the future process in this development of new educational programs in New Brunswick and Quebec.
Can bilingualism be an agent of your efforts to promote Indigenous languages and bilingualism and literary works in the province?
We are developing an Academy that will serve as a university for communicating and teaching Indigenous languages to high school students. We are going to engage the young Indigenous learners, along with English-speaking youth, with big shifts in the way we think about all of this. Students who have been fortunate to have access to the opportunities are then writing books and are also engaged in musical performances.
What role can teachers play in this renewed interest in language in Quebec and Canada?
Teachers of Indigenous languages have been leading this project and teaching it in our daily lives. Many educational programs throughout Canada and even in other countries are putting all of their attention on trying to improve Indigenous teaching of Indigenous languages.
Are there other programs across the world that have achieved similar dreams?
There are a few examples, for example Pinguin Punim. That’s in French in Uruguay and in the International Olympic Committee. It’s aimed at promoting Indigenous languages in North America.
Do you have similar ambitions for Canada?
There is really a need to turn more into a centre for a new age of education, education for all the world. So many of the demands we are putting on the education system for today include Indigenous language learning.
•This article was commissioned following a suggestion by laymanfrahm4. If there’s a subject you’d like us to investigate, please get in touch.