Released on August 31, 2022
The Government of Saskatchewan is providing up to $255,000 to the First Nations University of Canada to deliver the Dene Teacher Education Program (DTEP) so that students in northern communities can learn in their first language.
Post-secondary students who are enrolled this fall from La Loche and the Clearwater River Dene Nation will receive a four-year Bachelor of Indigenous Education. Upon graduation, newly trained teachers will be able to instruct students in the Dene language as part of the K-12 curriculum.
"Our government is proud to support this partnership to deliver DTEP and help meet the demand for qualified, Dene speaking teachers in northern Saskatchewan," Advanced Education Minister Gordon S. Wyant, Q.C. said. "Currently, La Loche and the Clearwater River Dene Nation are the only communities in Canada where Dene students can learn in their first language from elementary school through to post-secondary."
Over time, the program is expected to improve recruitment and retention of teachers in the north, increase student participation and graduation rates, and improve transitions to post-secondary education, training and the workforce. In 2016, the initial DTEP intake resulted in 21 graduates, 96 percent of whom are currently teaching in northern Dene communities.
"DTEP benefited me by letting me take the program right at home, and I was able to give back to my community by teaching at our local elementary school in the Dënësułinë language and helping revitalize our culture," DTEP and FNUniv Alumna, Erika Herman said.
DTEP is a unique partnership between the province, First Nations University of Canada, University of Regina, Clearwater River Dene Nation and Northern Lights School Division. It demonstrates a shared commitment to advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call (TRC) to Action 16, which calls upon post-secondary institutions to create university and college degree and diploma programs in Indigenous languages.
"On behalf of the Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN) Chief and Council, we are pleased to be the co-sponsor for the Dene Teacher Education Program (DTEP) in our community once again. The program has proven to be a great success and we are so proud of our graduates," CRDN Councillor Randy Janvier said. "The DTEP has lifted our community in so many ways and we look forward to this new cohort. We are thankful for the support from the Government of Saskatchewan, the CRDN school and for all who help to make this program happen."
The Clearwater River Dene Nation and the Northern Lights School Division fund fifty percent of the program, with the province's investment covering the other half. The First Nations University of Canada delivers the program.
"First Nations University of Canada is honoured to deliver the DTEP. This very important program not only meets the language learning needs of Dene people in the North, it also is a real response to a TRC Call to Action and contributes to the preservation, revitalization, and promotion efforts outlined in the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2023) statements," President of FNUniv, Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann said. "We have a collective responsibility, as demonstrated in this collaboration, to ensure that Indigenous languages survive as valuable Indigenous Knowledges are embedded within them."
For more information about the program, visit https://www.fnuniv.ca/academic/community-based-and-web-based-programs/
For more information, contact:Sarah March