People

Mission

Our mission is to provide opportunities for university accredited undergraduate and graduate studies in language and literacy education with a primary focus on supporting Indigenous language revitalization in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities. 

Opportunities include:

  1. Indigenous Language Instructors Studies (ILIS), a set of courses specializing in Indigenous language teaching and learning,
  2. Indigenous Language Leadership Awards for teachers with a B.Ed. who want to develop skills in Indigenous language pedagogy and to explore graduate level studies in language and literacy,
  3. The Young Indigenous Women’s Circle of Leadership (YIWCL),  providing intergenerational transmission of language learning in a program designed for the young women to develop as Indigenous language activists, and most importantly,
  4. We infuse our CILLES activities with Elders who offer us access to the Indigenous knowledge systems that they embody.  We strive to offer a dynamic program of study in Indigenous language revitalization that respects Indigenous knowledge, research and practices. 

Pearleen Kanewopasikot- YIWCL Cree instructor

Askihtakiw Piyesiw Iskwew nitsihkason.  Waskacosihk ohci niya.  Kinowes ekwa niki-pekiskinohamakan.  Keyapic nikiskinohamakan, nehiyawewin e-kiskinohamakeyan ota Amiskwacihk Waskihikanihk.

My ceremonial name is Blue Thunder Bird Woman.  I am from Little Pine First Nation, Saskatchewan.  I have been a long time educator.  I am still teaching Cree in Edmonton, with the Edmonton Catholic School Board at Ben Calf Robe School.

I enjoy teaching very much.  I love going to ceremony.  I am blessed to be a grandmother.  My grand baby and I go to ceremonies when we can.  I am very honoured to be part of the Cree and Cultural Immersion Camp at the University of Alberta.   I completed my Masters Degree in Land Based Indigenous Education at the University of Saskatchewan, and I am fully aware how important our ways of knowing are.  I am happy to promote retention of nehiyawewin and nehiyawatisowin.

Susan Sinclair

Mrs. Susan Sinclair is originally from Green Lake, Saskatchewan.  She is a band member with the Canoe Lake First Nations in Saskatchewan. She is a language keeper, traditional knowledge keeper and facilitator who provides workshops with various organizations.  At present, Susan is working with the Edmonton Public School Board as a consultant and teacher. Susan has worked in the field of education and counselling . She has worked extensively with First Nations, Metis and Inner City schools for more than 21 years. She has taught all grade levels, and worked as a coordinator and consultant in the area of cultural infusion.

Susan has taught at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina as a sessional  lecturer in Native Studies and the Cree Language. She also served as a project team member with Saskatchewan Learning to develop Curriculum programming for Cree 10, 20 and 30. These Cree Language resource lessons and units are available on the Saskatchewan Learning Website.

Susan has learned early on, the value of story -telling to pass on values, knowledge and culture of Indigenous people. She is firmly committed to passing on this passion to future generations through practical application and traditional storytelling methods. Fluent in Cree and Michif languages, Susan is in demand as a consultant for programs serving Indigenous communities. Her style is described as thoughtful, well organized, inspirational and refreshing.

Presently, she is working on her M.Ed in the areas of Language and Literacy. Susan is also developing a series of teaching resources in the Cree language which are intended for use in programs offering Plains Cree Michif language instruction.

Roxanne Tootoosis - Kamiyo Wapikwanet

Roxanne Tootoosis is Plains Cree/Saulteaux originally from Poundmaker Cree nation near Cut Knife, Saskatchewan.  She presently resides in Edmonton.  Roxanne is the middle child from a family of eight.  She is a proud mother of three daughters and five grandchildren.  She has over 18 years of social work experience working front-line with “at-risk” youth in creating unique youth development and leadership programs. In the year 2003, Roxanne decided to enhance her skills, switched careers and went into healthcare.  After completing a one year clinical residency as an Aboriginal Cultural Helper at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, she discovered a newfound passion providing spiritual care to patients and families who were experiencing sudden death or loss of a loved one.   With guidance provided by the ceremonial leaders, she reconnected with our cultural teachings to help aid in the healing process.  Roxanne travels extensively sharing these sacred experiences to inspire others and revive the ancient knowledge.  She is presently a full-time student in the Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality Program at St. Stephen’s College, U of A Campus.

Darlene Auger - Pîtâpan

A Bush Cree woman originally from Wabasca (Wâpiskâw), (Northern Alberta), who now resides in Edmonton (Amiskwâci Wâskahikan), Alberta, Darlene comes from a family of eight and is a mother of two beautiful young ladies, Fawn and Kîstin. Darlene is an educator, researcher, entrepreneur, holistic practitioner, facilitator, Actress/writer and singer. Darlene is an accomplished facilitator, having presented locally, nationally and abroad.

Darlene has a Psychology Degree from the University of Alberta and is currently pursuing her Doctorate at the Blue Quills First Nations College University in Indigenous Life Knowledge – “Iyiniw Pimâtisiwin Kiskeyihtamowin”.  Darlene is able to speak, read and write (Roman Orthography and Syllabics) in her Cree language and is seeking funding to create a CD of Cree lullabies, a children’s book of traditional parenting teachings, and a toy swing for dramatic play and early learning. Darlene has had some previous published work and is the Co-Founder of Old Earth Productions – A community based Indigenous theatre company in Edmonton and is the sole proprietor of Pîtâpan Consulting – A home based company.  Darlene travels extensively to share teachings of the traditional indigenous baby swing (wiwipsion), for the wholistic care and nurturing of infants and has also developed wiwip’son as an indigenous form of therapy for adults, in following a spiritual vision she had in 2001.

Cheryl Herman

Cheryl Herman is an educator who, through her work, has been involved in the area of language revitalization, maintenance and preservation initiatives for the last ten years. She earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction through the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. She attended CILLDI’s summer program in 2014. As part of the First Nations Language and Culture team, Cheryl collaboratively works with colleagues in supporting program initiatives to preserve, protect and enhance language and culture programming. Cheryl is the proud mother of four children and a doting grandmother to five beautiful grandchildren. She currently resides in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Laura Burnouf

Laura is originally from Beauval, Saskatchewan a Metis Cree community on the West Side of Saskatchewan.  She is fluent in both the Michif and the Cree language and presently works as a Faculty Advisor and Instructor for the Northern Teacher Education Program in La Ronge.  Prior to this, she taught in the elementary school level in various schools in Northern Saskatchewan.  Laura teaches University Cree courses, Social Studies methods course and has taught for two summers at CILLDI at the University of Alberta.

Laura enjoys playing guitar and singing and uses this skill to teach the Cree language and to host language festivals.  She often facilitates musical workshops at conventions and conferences.

Laura has completed a Masters of Education Degree at the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in the area of language and culture in 2005.  Her interest in pursuing this degree began with her involvement with the AILDI (American Indian Language Development Institute) in Arizona during the summer of 1999.  She was part of the first co-hort of CILLDI in 2000 where she had the opportunity to work with indigenous language activists.

Ethel Gardner

Dr Stelómethet Ethel B Gardner is a Stó:lō member of the Skwah First Nation in B.C., with a PhD from Simon Fraser University, an Ed.M. from Harvard,  a M.Ed from the University of British Columbia (UBC)’s Tsk’‘kel Program, and a B.Ed. from UBC’s Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP).  Her career in the field of Education spans over three decades, and includes a passion for work in Indigenous language revitalization.  She has acquired substantial research grants in this area, e.g. the “E-Master-Apprentice Pedagogy for Critically Endangered Languages,” and “Language Planning for Anishinaabemowin Revitalization in Grand Council Treaty #3.” Dr Gardner has led the design and development of unique Indigenous teacher education programs at Simon Fraser (Sto:lo/SFU Developmental Standard Term Certificate) and Lakehead (H.B.Ed Aboriginal Program) Universities, where she held Assistant and Associate Professor positions respectively.  At the University of Alberta, Dr Gardner assumed a leading role with the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI) in the Faculty of Education. Gardner is currently retired, living in BC and working as an elder scholar at the University of the Fraser Valley, Simon Fraser University and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.

Val Georges

Val Georges is a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta and former CILLDI student.  She earned her M.Ed at the University of Manitoba in Inclusive Education.  Recently retired from the position of Director of Aboriginal Education in the Winnipeg School Division she was responsible for the development, implementation and assessment of Aboriginal language programming.  She is an educator with over 25 years of successful classroom, publication, management and leadership experience.  She is Metis, speaks some Cree Mechif and is originally from Ile a la Crosse, SK.

Belinda C. Daniels – pē miyo maskwa

Belinda is of the nēhiyawak nation of Turtle Island, her home community is Sturgeon Lake First Nation. She has been an educator for 15 years specializing in Aboriginal education. Belinda resides in Saskatoon with her family, she is married with four children. She currently works for the Saskatoon Public School Division at a local high school and has been a sessional for the University of Saskatchewan languages Dept. for the past nine years. Her interests include research, particularly in language restoration, preservation and development. Belinda holds a B. Ed., P.G.D., Masters’ degree and is currently a Ph.D. candidate working on her doctor of philosophy in interdisciplinary studies for Graduate studies and research with the University of Saskatchewan in the disciplines of anthropology, history and education. While working on her master’s degree Belinda had been a student of the Canadian Indigenous Language and Development Institute through the Western’s Dean Agreement. This is where her love for language preservation blossomed and flourished.

Belinda is the founder and coordinator an annual summer camp; nēhiyawak Language acquisitioning camp and it has been in programming for over a decade! She was also the lead consultant for the St. Frances Cree Bilingual Program in Saskatoon it its’ initial stages. Belinda has written about her experiences with language and identity which have been published in academic journal reviews. She was also the co-writer for the Cree Core/nēhiyawēwinSaskatchewan Curriculum for the Ministry of Education. Most recent of her achievements, Belinda has been nominated by the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation for the Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award with the Canadian Teacher’s Federation, spring 2015. Belinda also considers herself as a community activist and has sat on numerous boards for issues such as child-welfare, food sovereignty, and currently sits on the board with United Way with its’ mandate to ending homelessness. Belinda is currently an independent Consultant for 2nd Indigenous languages development and decolonizing education.