Media Contacts

Sean Leslie

Communications Director
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training
250 893-4403

Nathan Skolski

UBC Okanagan Media Relations
Associate Director, Public Affairs
604 365-8558


New Indigenous language proficiency/fluency degree

The new bachelor of Nsyilxcn language fluency builds upon the work of other Indigenous language initiatives that were developed at the grassroots level by First Nations working with post-secondary institutions.

It is the first degree designed and offered under the new B.C. Indigenous Language Proficiency/Fluency Degree Framework. The immersive student experience, laddering between college and university with students spending the first two years in an Indigenous community earning a diploma from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and completion of the final two years credentialed at and through UBC Okanagan is unique.

  • This initiative is in keeping with Article 14.1 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”:
    • And Article 16 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations: “We call upon post-secondary institutions to create university and college degree and diploma programs in Aboriginal Languages.”:
  • In 2019, the Indigenous Language Proficiency/Fluency Degree Framework was developed to address the critical state of Indigenous languages by streamlining the degree creation process. The framework was developed from a discussion paper prepared for the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association and was written by Jeannette Armstrong.
  • Armstrong was born and grew up on the Penticton Indian Band reserve and is fluent in the Syilx language. She wrote the discussion paper to inform work towards the development of this new degree program providing a consistent approach to creating fluent speakers of Indigenous languages:
  • The En’owkin Centre is an Indigenous cultural, educational, ecological and creative arts organization located in Penticton that plays a lead role in the development and implementation of Indigenous knowledge and systems, both at the community and international levels:
  • The First Nations Education Steering Committee is the lead policy and advocacy body working to advance quality education, improved accountability, and improved education outcomes for all First Nation students in B.C., as recognized by the First Nations Leadership Council and as directed by First Nations’ governments:
  • The Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association was created to support and represent Indigenous-controlled adult and post-secondary institutes in B.C. The association currently has 42 member institutes throughout the province that offer a broad spectrum of courses and programs, including college and university diplomas, certificates and degrees, adult basic education and occupation-specific training: