The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Language Proficiency Certificate Program

The Squamish Language Proficiency Certificate program is a full-time Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim immersion program that has been running for four years and has brought over 50 new language speakers into the Squamish Sníchim family. The program happens in partnership with K.A.S. Projects, Simon Fraser University, the Tsleil-waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, and the Where Are Your Keys (WAYK) language team. 

The certificate program offers such a deep, multifaceted cultural connection through traditional songs, legends, interactions with other community members, speakers and elders, trips out onto the land, plant knowledge, and more. It has been well attended each year and has a high success rate. We use the WAYK language methodology to structure the program, which is an immersion-based learning methodology that does not use English based translation.  

Acquiring a second, third, or fourth language is only possible when the potential speaker dedicates a huge amount of time to learning about said language. There is a difference between appreciation of a language and being conversational in a language. It’s also necessary to consider how learning an endangered language is much different than learning a language that is thriving. For example, if you were learning Spanish for the first time, you could go to multiple locations where it is being fluently spoken in huge populations, it is all over media (tv, radio, etc.), and they have successful resources/curriculums to teach said language.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim is considered to be an endangered language. We’ve been lucky to have late and present elders who’ve dedicated their time and efforts into preserving what they could in the language. We are starting to arrive at the place now where we can use these incredible resources (stories, recordings, etc.), in our classrooms. These resources are used for fun, recreational benefits, as well as being used for educational purposes. With few fluent speakers in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim, it is a crucial time for creating more fluent, conversational speakers. This program is still fairly new, but it’s really showing progress and success. There are now more Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim speakers to have discussions with, which is really one of the main ways to create fluent speakers.

To this date, this will be the fifth cohort offered in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim. Through the past four cohorts, a curriculum with numerous lessons has been created, and continuously added to.

Temstl’í7 ta Sníchim is a one-year adult immersion program founded by Kwi Aw̓ t Stélmexw (KAS) now The Sníchim Foundation.

The objective of this program is to offer approximately 1000 hours of immersion in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim, to create a new generation of L2 language speakers. Year 1 focuses on mastery of language proficiency from Novice to Intermediate-Mid on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale. Year 2 ladder to SFU’s Diploma in First Nations Language Proficiency which focuses on mastery of language proficiency from Intermediate-Mid to Advanced on the ACTFL scale.

This year, Year 1, is offered in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Department of Linguistics through their First Nations Languages Program (FNLP) with support from the Squamish Nation. The academic program of study and the credential to be awarded upon completion is the Certificate in First Nations Language Proficiency (CFNLP).

How To Apply

If you are interested in finding out more about when the course opens for registration complete the form below.