Highlighting the importance of language, culture and identity
Apr 27, 2022
Lorna Williams
Highlighting the importance of language, culture and identity

This is the United Nations year of indigenous languages.

Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams, Ed.D; OC; OBC
Dr. Williams is Professor Emerita  at the University of Victoria. She was the Canada Research Chair in Education and Linguistics. She built her career on the principle that quality education for Indigenous children must be characterized by strong cultural teachings alongside a Euro-Western education.
Dr. Williams grew up in the Lil’wat Nation, north of Whistler. She helped to develop the writing system for Lil’wat. She co-authored the first curriculum to teach the language in school. These materials continue to be used today.
In 1973, Dr. Williams was instrumental in opening Mount Currie’s band-controlled school. The school delivered an innovative curriculum including Lil’wat and Euro-Canadian knowledge, history, and values.  
At the University of Victoria, Dr. Williams led the development of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and a Master’s in Counseling in Indigenous Communities. She also designed and implemented a mandatory course in Indigenous Education for all teacher education students, now mandatory in BC. The first in Canada.
Today Dr. Williams is Chair of First Peoples Cultural Foundation and elder and member of the Ministers Advisory Council on Indigenous Women. She is on the work group for the CCUNESCO planning for the Decade of Indigenous Languages and an Observer at UN/UNESCO Global Task force for the decade of Indigenous languages.