Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, associate professor of Indigenous Studies at UBCO, helped designed the new degree program. (University of British Columbia Okanagan)

Canada’s first Indigenous language degree to be offered at UBC Okanagan

The goal of the program is to increase the number of fluent Nsyilxcn speakers

The first bachelor’s degree program in Indigenous language fluency, for all of Canada, will be offered right in the Okanagan.

The program will be offered at UBC Okanagan (UBCO), in partnership with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) and the En’owkin Centre in Penticton.

The goal of the program is to increase the number of fluent Nsyilxcn speakers, as Indigenous languages in the province are endangered.

According to UBCO, the Bachelor of Nsyilxcn Language Fluency (BNLF) is designed to work closely with the community “to provide a comprehensive and high-quality education in Nsyilxcn.”

“The idea that there’s only knowledge in English or French is absolutely not true,” UBCO associate professor of Indigenous Studies Dr. Jeannette Armstrong said.

“Language is identity. Indigenous knowledge systems and an Indigenous paradigm – how we view the world and how we interact – is deeply rooted in language.”

Language learners in the program will be provided with a deep understanding of not just the language, but the culture and customs as well, the university said.

Armstrong also said they hope the program will foster the revitalization of Nsyilxcn.

“This is an important step in acting on Indigenous people’s rights to develop and transmit their languages, knowledge, and oral traditions.”

The BNLF program is the first degree to come out of a newly designed framework for Indigenous language learning put forward by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association.

Graduates of the program can continue to work in education, social services, culture, tourism, and resource-management positions.

The partnership between NVIT and the En’owkin Centre means students will be able to transfer the credits they earn at the two schools to the new degree program. The BNLF is also designed to meet prerequisites for other post-secondary programs, which means students can pursue further studies to complete their degrees.

READ: B.C. announces amendments to school mask mandate amid COVID surge


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Just Posted

Berwick by the Sea resident Hilda Shilliday, 91, is ready to participate in the Grandmothers to Grandmothers’ Stride to turn the Tide fundraising event that runs April 11-25. Register on the event website for a fee of $20 which goes to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s work in Africa, then do any kind of exercise, log the time, distance or whatever and be eligible for a prize package. Photo contributed
91-year-old Vancouver Islander ready to Stride to Turn the Tide

Campbell River’s Hilda Shilliday encourages everyone to support African grandmothers

Exterior of Highland Manor shows at least one broken window, covered with a blanket. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Reclaiming blighted Vancouver Island apartment complex requires more than paint

Improvements to Port Hardy’s troubled Highland Manor are slow and stuck in red tape

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

Carson Grant, general manager of Comox Valley Dodge regularly reaches out to people to assist with vehicles, food, clothes and more. Google Maps photo
Vancouver Islander getting back on her feet thanks to kindness of her community

Woman was living in her broken-down truck in Comox Valley when her call for help was answered

The Town of Lake Cowichan wants to get more people out of their cars. That should be the goal of all of the transportation plans currently under review in the Cowichan Valley. (Gazette file)
Editorial: Time to dream up better transportation options

Vancouver Island needs to ask ‘how are we going to get there from here?’

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

The City of Parksville encourages residents to visit outdoor restaurant patios as part of a social media challenge. (Submitted photo)
Parksville promotes patio patrons to post pictures to support restaurant industry

Patio Challenge: Take a photo of your food for social media

Campbell River’s Repair Cafe is on once again next week at the Sportsplex. It’ll just look a little different than people are used to. Mirror File Photo
Got a broken thing? Repair Cafe is once again looking for stuff to fix

Annual Campbell River service will be a drop-off/pick-up situation due to COVID-19 protocols

Anna Wu, a young golfer from Victoria, came in second at the Masters’ Drive, Chip and Putt challenge at the Augusta National Golf Club on March 4. (Photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Victoria golfer places second at Masters’ Drive, Chip and Putt youth competition

Anna Wu’s chipping challenge hole out was praised by Masters champ Phil Mickelson

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Most Read