Six Nations Polytechnic celebrates historic Indigenous Ogwehoweh language degree with announcement from Minister Moridi

Today Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) was home to an historic celebration after receiving approval to offer a three year Bachelor of Arts degree in Ogwehoweh Languages (Mohawk and Cayuga). This marks the first time an Ogwehoweh Language degree will be offered through an Indigenous institute established under First Nations authority, anywhere. 

“Six Nations Polytechnic has always had the intention of offering a language degree,” said President, Rebecca Jamieson. “Thanks to the incredible dedication of the language community and financial support from the Six Nations Community Trust, SNP prepared and submitted the application in December 2013 for degree granting status.” 

On December 16, 2015, the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, provided written consent for SNP to offer and advertise the three year Bachelor of Arts in Ogwehoweh Languages in Ontario for a period of four years with the condition that SNP make all reasonable efforts to bring forward an application for Ministerial consent for a four-year degree program to replace the three-year degree program. 

“SNP will definitely apply for the four-year degree as this will position degree graduates to continue into graduate levels of study,” said Jamieson. “Language revitalization is at the core of the values of Six Nations Polytechnic. Not only will this degree help promote and protect Ogwehoweh languages, it also sets Six Nations Polytechnic out as an ideal partner in advancing several of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.” 

There is strong interest in Ogwehoweh language revitalization in Six Nations. Twenty seven students are enrolled in the historic language degree courses that began in January 2016 (15 in Cayuga, 12 in Mohawk). In addition, 21 full time students are enrolled in the Ogwehoweh Language Diploma program (17 in Cayuga, 4 in Mohawk) offered in partnership with McMaster University. To date a total of 53 graduates from the Ogwehoweh Language Diploma program now have the option of continuing into the degree program. 

The Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities marked the occasion by visiting Six Nations Polytechnic to make a formal announcement on behalf of the Government of Ontario. Also in attendance was Minister Zimmer, Aboriginal Affairs; MPP Dave Levac; Six Nations Chief Ava Hill; and Rebecca Jamieson, President of Six Nations Polytechnic.