Introduction to the Seasonal Model of Language Revitalization

Indigenous languages come from the land and reflect the close relationship of Indigenous people to the land. This relationship includes the natural calendar cycles of life on the land. This language planning toolkit is modelled on the natural cycle of seasons and the activities that take place within each season.

This model has four stages, each modelled on a season: spring, summer, autumn and winter. These stages reflect the natural cycle of growth and development that occurs both in the natural world and when creating a language revitalization plan.

The timing in which communities complete each seasonal planning stage does not need to match with the actual calendar season. (For example, you could complete the summer planning stage in December.) The seasonal model is simply a way to think about the continuous cycle of planning and implementation for a language revitalization plan.

The seasonal model has been chosen for language revitalization planning because it:

  • Links language planning to the natural planning practices that come from Indigenous cultures, lands and waters
  • Highlights the different activities that could take place within each phase, just as each season has different activities
  • Shows that the planning stages are interconnected and may overlap with one another, just as the seasons change gradually
  • Demonstrates the cyclical nature of planning – once the plan is completed, a new phase of revision and renewal begins

In this model, spring is a time for preparation, summer and fall are a time for harvesting and winter is a time for celebration, reflection and sharing. Different communities may practise different activities in each season. Again, you can adapt this toolkit to work for your community.

Spring (Pre-planning)

  1. Establish a language planning team
  2. Develop language plan values
  3. Conduct a language profile

Summer (Planning)

  1. Develop a vision statement
  2. Develop goals and strategies
  3. Develop actions and indicators
  4. Create a draft plan

Autumn (Pre-implementation)

  1. Develop a year-by-year summary
  2. Develop an implementation plan
  3. Develop a monitoring and evaluation plan
  4. Create a budget
  5. Finalize the language plan

Winter (Implementation)

  1. Celebrate the language plan, reflect and gather endorsement
  2. Attain funding
  3. Begin implementation