The Mentor-Apprentice Program is a one-on-one language immersion program that helps people to become fluent speakers by supporting them to bring the language into their daily lives at home and on the land. It offers one-on-one learning between an adult learner (16 years of age and older) and a fluent speaker.
This program has three streams:
- The Mentor-Apprentice Program offers 300 hours of immersion per year for up to 3 years.
- The Mentor-Apprentice Program: Community provides funding and support for 3–6 Mentor-Apprentice teams along with a community coordinator to assist with administration. This creates opportunities for teams to connect and learn together. Now accepting applications!
- The Mentor-Apprentice Program: Connections is a less intensive Mentor-Apprentice program, offering 100 hours of immersion at a flexible pace.
The Mentor-Apprentice Program is for B.C. First Nations individuals learning one of the 34 First Nations languages in B.C. You do not need to be living in your community (on reserve) to be eligible to participate, but you must be living in B.C.
This program is funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Mentor-Apprentice Program – Intensive
This option is intended for language learners who want to actively pass on the language to others, most often through a career as a language educator. Mentor-Apprentice participants complete 300 hours of language immersion with a fluent speaker over approximately nine months.
MAP is best suited for:
- Learners who are or want to become language teachers in the school or community
- Parents of young children or soon-to-be parents
- Learners aged 16 – 50 who have a plan for actively passing on the language to others
While completing this program is a big commitment, it works! Some apprentices have become highly proficient speakers in three years.
Mentor-Apprentice Community supports groups of three to six teams in the Mentor-Apprentice Program, with additional funding for a community coordinator. Having a group of active Mentor-Apprentice teams is a great way to increase the momentum of language revitalization! Teams support each other while completing one-on-one language immersion learning.
The teams can work in a cohort style, providing peer support to each other while each completes one-on-one language immersion learning. Mentor-Apprentice teams spend 10-20 hours per week (50 hours per month) together one-on-one doing everyday activities and using the language at all times. This is a large commitment, so both mentor and apprentice are paid for their time.
In addition to training and funding for the Mentor-Apprentice teams, this stream provides up to $11,250 in funding to hire a community coordinator to support a group of Mentor-Apprentice teams. The coordinator assists the teams with reporting, panel evaluations, administration and coordination of group gatherings and activities.
To apply, you must identify 3-6 mentors and apprentice teams. The teams can be in neighbouring communities. FPCC may help identify mentors if you do not have enough in your community.
The Mentor-Apprentice Program is not currently accepting applications outside of Mentor-Apprentice Community at this time.
Mentor-Apprentice Program: Connections – Flexible
Mentor Apprentice Connections is for language learners who want to strengthen their connection to their language and who want greater flexibility and minimal reporting requirements. Mentor Apprentice Connections participants complete 100 hours of language immersion with a fluent speaker over approximately six months. The project term for Map Connections is June 1 – Dec. 15, 2022.
Mentor Apprentice Connections is best suited for:
- Learners who want to strengthen their connection to their language
- Learners with some language knowledge or silent speakers who want to gain confidence in speaking
- Learners who want to complete their Mentor-Apprentice hours at a relaxed pace
FPCC provides training and support to successful applicants. Each grant is for a single fiscal year, and reapplications are permitted for up to two additional years if the previous year’s requirements are met.
This program is funded by the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Aboriginal Neighbours and The Anglican Foundation of Canada.
Mentor-Apprentice Community FAQs
Have questions about Mentor-Apprentice Community: Check out our Frequently Asked Questions!
We are here to help!
If you have any questions or would like assistance with your grant application please contact the program staff listed at the bottom of this page. FPCC staff are available to answer questions about grant eligibility, project proposal ideas, what activities are permitted during COVID-19 restrictions, which program or grant may be best for your project and more. You may also contact an Outreach Coach for information on project planning, resources and information sessions.
The Mentor-Apprentice Program (MAP) was first developed in California for Native American languages, but the same model can be used to learn any language. It was initially created by Leanne Hinton, Nancy Richardson, Mary Bates Abbott and others (Hinton 2001) based on a suggestion by Julian Lang, a Karuk speaker. For more information on the program in California, see the website for the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival: www.aicls.org
FPCC started a B.C. Mentor-Apprentice Program in 2008 with 12 teams from 11 different B.C. languages. The goal for each team was to complete 900 hours of immersion in their language (3 years of 300 hours per year). These 12 teams showed great success and all of the apprentices became more fluent in their languages. Since then, FPCC has supported hundreds of teams across the province to learn and share their languages.
Tools and Resources
Click here for more information regarding the MAP toolkit. The program toolkit includes helpful resources to assist with planning your program activities from application to submitting your final report.
Page Image: Levi Martin and Tsimka Martin, Tla-oqui-aht First Nation, 2019 Mentor-Apprentice training.
Hannah Green is passionate about language revitalization and has been doing language work with communities and Elders in B.C. for a number of years. She received her M.A. in Linguistics from the University of British Columbia in 2021.