PE Ledger

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Kingston will soon have a new Indigenous languages space

Right now, the plan is to make a city space available to Languages Nest.

The Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest is collaborating with the City of Kingston to help Indigenous community people reconnect with their culture and learn Indigenous languages.

“Right now, the plan is to make a city space available to Languages Nest, which is a volunteer-run community organisation that helps second language learners learn Indigenous languages as a part of reconnecting with culture, cultural revitalization, and some land-based learning,” Jennifer Campbell, Director of Heritage Services for the City of Kingston, explained.

The Languages Nest will move to 610 Montreal Street, and organisers say the room is badly needed.

Deb St. Amant, co-director of the Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest, remarked, “Right now our resources are spread out everywhere.”

“We have our own area, and we don’t have to base our schedule on the availability of others.” For example, if we want a certain weekend, we know we can have it, whereas when we were renting a space, we had to compete with other individuals for that space.”

As part of the city’s ongoing reconciliation efforts, Kingston city council has contributed $50,000 per year to the Languages Nest.

“To improve their programming, to provide some consistency, and to provide greater staff assistance,” Campbell explained.

“It may seem like a tiny amount to some, but those of us who work with not-for-profit and volunteer-run groups know how much $50,000 can do when given a chance.”

“We don’t have more money for a location like this, so it’s a great gift,” St. Amant said. The combination of space and funding to be able to operate it is very incredible.”

The languages nest could be in the Montreal Street building within the next several months, according to both parties.

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