New twists on an old language: Efforts flourish to keep Cree alive

Mahti nehiyawetan — let’s speak Cree.

Cree speakers believe the key to preserving the language is just that simple.

Neal McLeod, author of 100 Days of Cree, says the language is at a pivotal point in history — it can either fade into obscurity like many other First Nations languages or see a resurgence.

However, it all depends on those interested in not only learning it, but in teaching it.

McLeod, from the James Smith First Nation, considers himself fortunate because he grew up hearing the language spoken by his relatives. As he grew older, he made a conscious effort to learn it.

Each year, the world loses more Cree language speakers than it gains. Their dwindling numbers has become an increasing concern to those, like McLeod, who could be among the last generation of Cree speakers.

As an educator and author — but not a language instructor — he decided to do something about it.

Read more: Regina Leader-Post

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