Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Expands Kanien’kéha Language Program

Apr 5, 2017

Seeks Five Mohawk Language Instructors

AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) is committed to providing opportunities for community members and employees to learn our Kanien’kéha (Mohawk language). Housed within the Tribal Historic Preservation (THPO) Department, the Language Lab has been in operation since 2005 to offer free instruction by Mohawk Language Coordinator Carole Ross in a classroom setting from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Over the years, there has been inconsistent utilization of this resource. In recent years, there has been a sharp decline in participation.

In response to this trend, the THPO Department and the Executive Director’s Office have been working together towards programmatic enhancements with an overall goal to lower barriers to access and increase utilization by community and staff.

For this purpose, the SRMT conducted an online survey from Kenténha/October through Tsiothóhrha/December 2016, to receive direct feedback from community members in order to best tailor future changes to their needs.

The survey results strongly indicated that the current class times of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., are not feasible or accessible to most people interested in attending. The survey results also recommended classes be offered in the evening and on weekends to better accommodate the schedules of working families.

Assistant Executive Director Starr Thomas shared, “Many of us have taken Mohawk language classes in the school system every year from K5 through grade 12, but are not fluent language speakers. Given the downward participation in our Language Lab, we knew changes were needed. The survey provided us great feedback about how we could better serve the community with this important resource.”

The survey feedback also indicated that classes oriented towards a family setting or language nest model, rather than a conventional classroom setting, were preferred. Instruction focused on everyday conversation and commands were a clear preference of the survey respondents and are thought to be most effective in achieving the program goal of increasing usage and fluency of the language.

“Learning in the family setting will allow participants and their families to learn language together and better prepare them to use it at home,” stated Thomas. She added, “It will better enable family members and other participants to use Kanien’kéha on a daily basis in their home setting. Meaningful interaction in the home has been one of the program goals from the start.”

With this in mind, the SRMT is seeking assistance in compiling a list of Kanien’kéha instructors, or speakers, to eventually contract for instructing language classes. We are seeking at least five (5) language instructors, regardless of residency or age, who are able to offer language classes twice a week during the day and evenings and during the weekends using various teaching techniques, with a focus on daily family conversations.

Interested individuals must be able to read and write the Mohawk language; submit weekly progress reports and class evaluations, when necessary; and provide lesson plans and curriculum for two 12-week sessions to the following groups and mediums:

•Employees of the Tribe and community members

•Adults with a partner or teenager

•Adults (Parents/Grandparent) and 6 to 12 year olds

•Adults (Parents/Grandparent) and babies to 5 year olds

•Translation Services required from the business hour Tuesday and Thursday Instructor

•Facebook language translator

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is looking for five instructors to accommodate the following schedule:

Week Day Class Schedule – Location:Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Language Lab during business hours – evening classes may be held in alternate locations:

Day of the WeekClass TimeClass TimeClass Time
TuesdayLunch hour4:00 to 5:00 p.m.7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
ThursdayLunch hour4:00 to 5:00 p.m.7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Weekend Schedule – classes held in various locations based on sizes (hours may vary):
Weekend DayClass Time
Adults w/6 to 12 years2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Adults w/babies to 5 years10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Adults and/or teens 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Adults w/6 to 12 years11:00 to 12:00 p.m.
Adults w/babies to 5 years1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Adults and/or Teens 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

If you are interested in being an Kanien’kéha Mohawk Language Teacher/Instructor, respond in writing no later than Friday, Onerahtohkó:wa/May 5, 2017 to the Grants & Contracts, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, 412 State Route 37, Akwesasne, New York 13655, or e-mail to

Please understand that this is not an invitation for bid or a solicitation for offer, but merely an inquiry to determine who is interested and qualified. Contact information will be kept on file for any future related solicitations.

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The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People