USask Cree scholar Kevin Lewis spreads a mixture of moose brains and Dove soap onto a skin to soften it for use as a moccasin. (Photo: Chelsea Laskowski)

USask Cree scholar contributes to historic day in House of Commons

University of Saskatchewan Cree scholar Kevin Lewis contributed to a historic day in the Canadian House of Commons by being the first to translate a speech delivered by a Member of Parliament entirely in an Indigenous language.

The speech was delivered by Manitoba MP Robert Falcon-Ouellette on Monday, Jan. 28.

Lewis, who teaches Cree within the USask College of Education to students who will themselves pass the language on to Indigenous youth in schools across the Prairies and other regions, translated Falcon-Ouellette’s 10-minute contribution to the debate, according to iPolitics.

This event marks the first time simultaneous translation services have ever been available for an Indigenous language in Parliament, according to Global News.

Lewis said his role was gratifying as Indigenous communities try to reverse the tide that has come to threaten a range of Indigenous languages in Canada.

Having developed a certificate program in Indigenous Languages, Lewis was recently featured in the Green & White for his role in language learning and Cree immersion courses.

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