Decolonizing Indigenous language pedagogies: Additional language learning and teaching

Given the experiences of colonization common to North American Indigenous communities, people learn Indigenous languages in situations with multiple layers of removal: communities from land; relations from intergenerational continuity; and grammar from real communicative contexts, places, and spirituality. Indigenous languages are often taught in ways inscribed by norms and assumptions associated with dominant language pedagogies, which can further these removals by reproducing colonial power dynamics. Considering current research and examples within the decolonial framework of language reclamation, which emphasizes community needs and values as the starting point for developing language work, we discuss how Indigenous language pedagogies can reflect Indigenous knowledge systems and nurture wellbeing. Engaging decolonization as a guiding principle, we shift away from normative Second Language Acquisition models, which can be incongruent with the aspirations of Indigenous communities for their languages, and instead employ a framework of additional language learning. We provide an overview of pedagogical strategies for Indigenous language reclamation and discuss how they can be implemented to create and sustain spaces and opportunities for people and languages to flourish.

Chew, K. A. B., Leonard, W. Y., & Rosenblum, D. (2023). Decolonizing Indigenous language pedagogies: Additional language learning and teaching. In J. Carmen, M. Mithun, & K. Rice (Eds.), Handbook of languages and linguistics of North America (pp. 767–788). Mouton de Gruyter. [post-print version]