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Free Blackfoot language lessons shedding light on Indigenous culture

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The Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, Alta., is partnering with a longtime educator to bring free Blackfoot language lessons to the public.

Julius Delaney has been working with the museum for several years to provide introductory classes to the community. He has been teaching language since the early 1990s.

The current batch of lessons began earlier in the fall and are running until Dec. 1.

“We have a 10-module or 10-lesson plan,” Delaney explained. “Not only do we teach the language part of it, but the culture that’s involved in the language.”

The Galt has developed its own Blackfoot Language Workbook and flash cards, which are available for download through the museum’s website.

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Translations and pronunciations of animals, occupations and more are included in the materials.

Delaney teaches live online for an hour-and-a-half on Thursday evenings, with the goal of both reconnecting those with Blackfoot heritage with the language, and fostering understanding for non-Indigenous people.

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“We just want to get the language out there so they can (sort of) look at some of our views and how we view the world from an Indigenous perspective,” he explained.

“We welcome all walks of life. Young and old, if you’re new to the language, whether your profession allows you to work with Indigenous peoples.”

Each session is posted to the Galt’s Facebook page. As of Thursday, they all had been viewed more than 500 times.

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