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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John and Jeri Wyatt hope the upcoming North Cowichan public hearing will move things along toward exclusion of the Chemainus River Campground from the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Opportunity for input on campground ALR exclusion at public hearing

Matter back on the agenda after a late reprieve in 2019 for Chemainus River Campground owners

Rainforest Arts in downtown Chemainus is closing temporarily. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Rising COVID cases cited in temporary Rainforest Arts closure

Contact can still be made through email and social media

The Red Zed 1 aroused a great deal of curiosity when it was stationed off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Alaskan fast ferries the eventual load for heavy hauler

The Red Zed 1 stayed anchored in Chemainus for the better part of a month and a half

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Most Read