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LPSD schools enjoy Cree language carolling

“I learned how to sing the ‘Hi song’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ in Cree.”

Barr Colony School First grader Phoenix says it was super fun singing the songs.

On board for the fun learning activity is the LPSD First Nations Métis Inuit (FNMI) consultant Clint Chocan, who says when the kids hear something that’s played with music, they have a better chance of remembering it.

He introduced them to songs from his uncle Brian Macdonald who back in the late 1970’s and 1980’s wrote Cree songs to teach the words for hello, as well as animals and numbers. He says the songs have been recorded and are being used in Western Canada to teach Cree.

It’s important to keep the language alive, he adds.

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“There’s over 70 different Indigenous languages in Canada alone and over 600 Indigenous communities in Canada. And within those languages, there are some that are actually close to being extinct. In order to keep them alive, they have to be revitalized in some way. We are hoping to make it known that these languages need help.”

He hopes that someone will take up the cause of keeping the languages alive. He says it means a great deal to him to be able to share with the children.

“This is who I am. This is my first language. It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I still speak with my family.”

He added his reason for teaching Indigenous languages to youth.

“When you lose the language, you lose the culture.”

With guitar in hand, Chocan will be teaching Cree songs to grade ones and twos across the school division.

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