UBC’s Okanagan campus, located in the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, is set to become the first university in Canada to offer a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous language fluency.
The Bachelor of Nsyilxcn Language Fluency (BNLF) program, created in collaboration with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) and the En’owkin Centre, is designed to work closely with the community to provide a comprehensive and high-quality education in Nsyilxcn—the language spoken by members of the Syilx Okanagan Nation—and to promote new, fluent speakers with a deep understanding of the language, culture, and customs.
“The idea that there’s only knowledge in English or French is absolutely not true,” says Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, associate professor of Indigenous Studies at UBC Okanagan and academic lead on the BNLF. “Language is identity. Indigenous knowledge systems and an Indigenous paradigm—how we view the world and how we interact—is deeply rooted in language.”
She adds that the transfer of Indigenous ideas and consciousness can only happen through the knowledge systems that are resident in the language.
“We hope to help foster a revitalization of the Nsyilxcn language in our communities and to see it spread across all domains of community life,” says Dr. Armstrong. “This is an important step in acting on Indigenous peoples’ rights to develop and transmit their languages, knowledge, and oral traditions.”
Please visit the UBC Okanagan News site to read the full story.
Under Strategy 17: Indigenous Engagement, the university is committed to supporting the objectives and actions of the Indigenous Strategic Plan.