Located in the northwest region of Winnipeg, the Seven Oaks School Division runs the Ojibwe Bilingual Language Program. The program is a NIB Trust Fund multi-year beneficiary and has been supported by the Trust Fund since 2017. The program has grown with the students from Kindergarten to grade 5 and is now entering the Middle Years. There are currently over 100 First Nations and Métis students enrolled in the language immersion lessons and multiple First Nations teachers and support staff.
The language program has played an important role in many of the student’s lives by connecting them with culture and language learning they may not have access to while in-care or at home. The program is connecting staff, students and their families with community Elders and Knowledge Keepers, creating networking and professional development opportunities, and is helping to increase the number of Ojibwe language speakers within Treaty One Territory. Through the program, the Seven Oaks School District can support Indigenous teachers and support staff as they strengthen their language skills through the Indigenous Language Certification program at Red River College and the University of Winnipeg.
Riverbend School and the Seven Oaks School Division remain committed to recovering and preserving Indigenous languages through in-school programming and community involvement. Through the Ojibwe Bilingual Language program, they create and provide language learning opportunities for their students and community members through Indigenous ways of being, learning and doing and are directly helping to create long-term sustainable language learning and development accessible for future generations.