We, Indigenous peoples, have been silenced and separated from the land, our language, culture, and spirituality. We are strong and resilient.
There is no language without culture. Language connects us to our ancestors. Our connection to our ancestors is the glue that holds these pieces together. By reconnecting, we are breathing life into our language and culture.
Our Language Circles are open to anyone interested in learning and participating.
MLRC’s Language Circles have always been open to and inclusive of all peoples, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, or culture; thereby, sharing our culture and language with others. Our Language Circles are offered both in person and online.
Our Language Circles are based on the traditional practice of visiting with friends and family in someone’s home; for that reason, they are casual and less structured than our classes. Circles last approximately 1.5 hours with a short break in the middle.
The term ‘Circle’ is both literal and figurative.
When you arrive at the Host’s home, they will greet you in Michif (followed by English), offer you snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Then, we literally sit in chairs and couches in a circle formation. With the support, direction, and guidance of a non-fluent speaking Facilitator, we go around the circle and everyone takes turns speaking Michif after hearing the audio (or you can just sit, listen, and watch—depending on your comfort level) as we go around the circle.
One spot in the circle is occupied by a screen displaying the SpeakMichif.ca website, so everyone in the circle can visually follow along. Or you can choose to use the provided physical Lesson books.
To keep things interesting, we do activities like use Conversation Cards to practice with other learners and sometimes, even use puppets. We also play games in a combination of Michif and English: Bingo, cards, Wheel of Fortune (Red River Cart Wheel).
Other advantages to learning in a Language Circle setting:
It’s a fun, low stress, relaxing time
Support and encouragement from other participants
Ability to ask questions at any time
Be part of a community
Possible connection to extended family through names and places
Access to Elders and possibly more knowledgeable participants
Discussions about Language and Culture
Sharing of Traditional Values, Beliefs, and Practices
Potential school course credit for Youth – Contact our office for more info
Strengthens Indigenous Self-Identity
In Zoom Language Circles, you are responsible for bringing your own beverage and snacks, LOL! Since we are unable to arrange people in a physical circle, we follow a speaking order, when we get to the end of the order, we circle back to the beginning.
Figuratively, a Language Circle is a safe and respectful space where people come together, as a group (circle), to learn conversational Michif. Individually, everyone is on their own journey, and everyone’s journey is different—as they travel around their own Circle of learning.
If you would like to attend a Language Circle, either complete and submit the ‘New Membership Form’ or call our office.
Prior to attending your first Language Circle, one of our staff or volunteers will either do a phone or Zoom orientation with you.
If at any time, a Language Circle is canceled for any reason, you will be notified ahead of time, with as much notice as possible.
Our Language Classes are taught directly by our Fluent Speaker Brousse Flammand. He develops the curriculum in conjunction with a Prof from the University of Saskatoon.
The Beginner Level, offered every fall, is based on the theme of visiting his home. Content includes phrases of greetings, responding, and leaving and words for items you will encounter as you move through the rooms. He also covers the days of the week, months, numbers, colours, the body, health, family, and distances.
The Intermediate Level will be available every winter and will build on the content of the Beginner Level.
Classes are held as a Zoom meeting so everyone can see and hear each other; however, unlike Language Circles, everyone repeats the words and phrases to themselves while on ‘Mute’. Occasionally, Brousse will call on people individually to speak in Michif.
At the end of the hour, there will be a .5 hour question period - participants may ask Brousse about class material or general Michif Language and Culture. From time to time, Brousse will also share personal stories.
Language classes are more structured & intense than Language Circles, and move at a faster pace. "Homework" will be assigned - may involve composing and/ or translating a few sentences from English to Michif, and Michif to English. The purpose of the "Homework" is to test yourself and determine questions you might want to ask for the next class. Homework will not be marked; however, you may be asked to share your work in class.
Midway through the course and in the last class there will be a "quiz" covering the previous weeks. Again, the quizzes will not be marked; although, the answers will be provided at the end, so that you can evaluate your own learning
Registration is required, free, and everyone is welcome. There is a limit of 20 participants. If interested, we ask that you carefully consider if you are able to attend the majority, if not all classes, as Brousse's sharing of knowledge and time are extremely valuable.
MLRC will host a free, day-long, fully catered event that includes door prizes, free giveaways, free Michif Orange Shirts, and hands on, interactive demonstrations of a variety of learning activities.
All members of the general public and Metis Nation of BC Chartered Communities are welcome to attend and learn more about the MLRC Language and Cultural programs, SpeakMichif.ca website, the Coloured Syllable Phonetic Learning System (CSPLS), and how MLRC utilizes these to facilitate Language Circles.
Participants will have the opportunity to share what they are doing, plan, or hope to do in their communities to revitalize their Indigenous Languages & Cultures. While, also, forming and building relationships and collaborations with likeminded people and organizations as we work together and share our resources.