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Dr. Glenn Moulaison Details New Indigenous Language Fund at UWinnipeg

Tue. Jun. 13, 2023

Dr. Moulaison and his fellow faculty members

(Dr. Moulaison - Front row, left - at the 2023 Arts Council)

When Dr. Glenn Moulaison began his second term as Dean of Arts in 2017, one of the goals he set out to achieve during his tenure involved revitalizing and strengthening the presence of Indigenous languages on campus. Glenn realized early on that developing supports for Indigenous languages was wholly important not only to the University’s overall curriculum and strategic direction, but to the many individual Indigenous students and faculty members for whom language is at the heart of identity.

Help for this project came from a generous bequest left by Susan Buggey, a 1962-63 graduate of United College who chose to include the University in her will. After passing away in 2015, the university received a $50,000 gift from her estate—with no strings attached. “Undesignated funds from donors in this amount are a rarity, especially ones gifted to the faculty of arts,” said Glenn when asked how he felt after being placed in charge of managing the gift. “For such a significant amount to be donated, it was important from the start that we find a worthwhile cause to invest in.”

As one of his last efforts as Dean, Glenn set about working with supportive faculty members, the History and Geography department chairs, and Indigenous professors to develop an award that would see the $50,000 put towards providing a “uniquely UWinnipeg experience” for recipients. After much deliberation and moving through delays caused by the pandemic, the Indigenous Land-Based Language Learning Fund was created in March of 2023.

Falling in line with Glenn’s priorities as Dean, the fund is being made available to Indigenous faculty and students alike as a means of providing monetary support for individuals looking to travel to Indigenous language camps across North America. Camps of this nature are often hosted by universities or private organizations and offer immersive language training for participants. Additionally, Elders and other skilled speakers work with those involved to develop their skills and understanding of Indigenous culture.

“This initiative will help defray the costs—registration, travel, etc.—related to land-based language-learning”, says Glenn. “I hope the fund will grow to have more take advantage of the opportunity. But even if it allows just a few to participate every year, I hope it is considered to be worthwhile. Anything that we can do in this area—revitalization, preservation, promotion of Indigenous languages—we should do.”

The University’s Indigenous Advisory Circle will be reviewing applications, with the first round of recipients receiving funding by the spring of 2024.