CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – The Campbell River School District, in partnership with the We Wai Kai and Wai Wei Kum First Nations, hopes to launch a kindergarten language immersion program.

According to the District Principal of Indigenous Education Greg Johnson, the program will use the provincial kindergarten curriculum alongside Liq’wala and Kwak’wala, which means there will be a kindergarten teacher as well as a Liq’wala/Kwak’wala language teacher. The program will be open to all students, whether they are Indigenous or not.

The district hopes that this will increase young students’ knowledge of Laich-Kwil-Tach cultural teachings as well.

The school district is set to hold three community engagement meetings to hear what residents would like to see happen in the program.

“That’s really what we’re trying to find out: what are your dreams, what are your hopes? What things would have to be in place to make this a successful program as far as the instruction of language and the kindergarten curriculum?” said Johnson.

The program will be launched in an effort to encourage younger generations to learn Liq’wala and Kwak’wala, and revitalize the language in the We Wai Kai and Wai Wei Kum communities.

“The number of fluent speakers who are also able to write the language is quite few. The number of people with knowledge of the language is greater, but the elders who are fluent are fast disappearing,” said Johnson. “That’s why the nations really want to work on this, to ensure that their languages carried on.”

Johnson adds that once the program is approved, the district is hopeful they can implement the program for older students to inspire them to keep pursuing Liq’wala and Kwak’wala.

The dates for the community open houses are as follows:

  • October 17th, 6:00 PM at Quinsam Hall Board Room
  • October 24th, 6:00 PM at Thunderbird Hall Board Room
  • October 27th, 1:00 PM at Lions Hall at Willow Point