McIvor, Onowa

Assistant Professor


Department: Curriculum and Instruction

Research description:

-Indigenous language revitalization
-Second language teaching and learning
-Indigenous education
-History of Indigenous education in Canada
-Indigenous early childhood education, care and development
-Indigenous health and well-being
Expertise Profile
Indigenous languages aren't supported or promoted to the same extent as other languages in Canada, even though Indigenous cultures are the first cultural heritage of all Canadians, observes Onowa McIvor.

"All Canadians need to learn about the First peoples whose land they live on and need to care about resurrecting Indigenous languages as part of our shared history," she says.

Dr. McIvor focuses her research on revitalizing Indigenous languages in British Columbia, the most language-rich province-home to nearly 30 distinct Indigenous languages.

As the Director of UVic's Indigenous education program, Dr. McIvor studies practices that work best for sustaining Indigenous languages. One of her past projects focused on learning from communities who were increasing the number of young children who can speak their Indigenous language through early childhood immersion programs or "language nest" programs.

A current research project focuses on adults learning Indigenous languages as a second language through Mentor-Apprentice programs, where a proficient speaker is paired with an "apprentice," with little knowledge about the language. Dr. McIvor looks at the effectiveness of these programs and investigates the impacts they have on communities and language revitalization as a whole.

Related Links
Dr. Onowa McIvor's Faces of UVic Research video:

Information on the Indigenous Education Program:


student of Nihiyawin (Cree)

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