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Bangor High School piloting a new Wabanaki language course

A member of the Aroostook Band of Mi’kmaqs will co-teach the course via zoom. The course will premiere in the 2023 spring semester.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School will offer a new Wabanaki language and culture course in the spring semester of 2023.

John Dennis, a member of the Aroostook Band of Mi’kmaqs, will co-teach over zoom with a teacher in the classroom, according to BHS principal Paul Butler.

"We had this opportunity to do something unique, creative that's also in service to what John and others would describe as a language that's in danger of disappearing, so we're happy to be part of reviving it," Butler said.

This comes months after a study showed many Maine school districts are not doing enough to meet the standards of a law requiring schools to teach Wabanaki studies.

Butler said adding the new course is not directly related to the study, rather the school has been trying to add this course for a while.

According to Butler, Dennis studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and recently finished an Indigenous Language master's program to help preserve native languages.

Butler said the class "was really attractive because it spoke to themes along those lines of reviving something that might be lost, something that was so critical to Maine's history."

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