Support from northerners like you keeps our journalism alive. Sign up here.



YK1 introduces Wıı̀lıı̀deh language challenges for staff and students

A wall tent at Mildred Hall School's outdoor learning centre. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

Yellowknife’s YK1 school district is offering new monthly challenges for students and staff with the intention of replacing basic English sentences with the Wıı̀lıı̀deh language. Through the use of QR codes, students will be able to hear and learn translated sentences chosen for each month.

Andrea Harding, YK1’s Regional Indigenous Languages and Education Coordinator says the goal of the challenges is to encourage a commitment to language revitalization.

“We don’t have language instructors in every school as of yet, so we’re trying to provide as much language to all of our students as possible.”

At the beginning of each month, a new QR code will be posted within YK1 schools. When scanned, people will be taken to an interactive link with a recording that teaches them how to say a new sentence in Wıı̀lıı̀deh.



In October, staff and students learned how to introduce themselves. November’s challenge is asking, “How are you?”

YK1’s November Tłı̨chǫ language Challenge. Poster: Andrea Harding

Starting in November, students and staff who are working on the challenge are encouraged to send in videos of themselves speaking the sentence in Wıı̀lıı̀deh. Their name will then be entered into a draw which could win them $100 worth of resources for their classroom or school community.

Harding says the ultimate goal from the challenges is to hear students using the language outside of the school setting and in everyday life.  

“If you hear people at the grocery store saying ‘edànet’e?’,  you can know how to respond, it doesn’t necessarily just need to be for working with students.”

Correction: November 1, 2022 – 10:40 MT. YK1 initially told Cabin Radio the language challenge would be in Tłı̨chǫ. The school district later said the language challenges would be in Wıı̀lıı̀deh.