Cultural Education Centres have an active role in community based language program, whether it is in the education system or community affairs.
In education, they serve as support for education related programs which include curriculum development for Band and provincial schools, teacher training, language classes, language acquisition, resource support to schools, presentations, workshops relating to the preservation of culture and language, life skills development, audio/visual resources, internet web pages and the production of materials for teachers, museums, archives, resource centres, libraries and post secondary schools.
For community, they develop and deliver community related programs and services covering a broad spectrum of activities such as summer camps, traditional sweat lodges and ceremonies, outdoor skills, cultural tourism, community language classes, traditional healing, protection of Elders teachings and traditional knowledge, adult language lessons, ceremonial and cultural celebrations, link contemporary technologies to traditional skills, and deliver cultural awareness programs to the public.
Cultural Centres function as ambassadors through the transmission of accurate accounts of First Nation history which nurtures bi-cultural awareness and addresses racism at its root. This is critical in an education and community context particularly in the age of technology and telecommunications.
In addition, Cultural Centres have been instrumental in utilizing technology to make First Nations language and culture current, dynamic and relevant to the children and youth of their communities. This is essential in a world of competing technology and social media.
The FNCCEC and its member centres have a significant impact nationally.
They play a prominent and important role in collecting, documenting and preserving language and culture particularly in a context where many First Nation languages are critically endangered or on the verge of extinction.
Not only does the FNCCEC play an important role in the preservation of traditional knowledge, archiving First Nation history and artefacts; it also has a vital role in reconciliation by ensuring the accuracy of First Nation history as it is told by First Nations for First Nations and in ensuring mainstream Canada learns the real history of Canada. History is integral to learning and appreciating the truth of Canada’s past, and in building reconciliation. FNCCEC believes the promotion of First Nation cultural heritage is the path for healing, relationship building and fostering understanding and respect for First Nations people.
Overall, the FNCCEC’s expertise includes, but not limited to, language immersion, curriculum development, teachers training, historical archiving, curatorship, cross cultural awareness, networking, multimedia technology, language learning, fluent speakers acquisition, the collection and archiving of oral histories, production of language resources; and, in addition to this pivotal expertise, the FNCCEC also inherited the duty of addressing the legacies of Indian Residential Schools, thus mandated to develop and deliver healing programs to meet the historical, cultural, social and educational needs relating to the loss of language and culture caused by residential schools. In essence, for the FNCCEC, in it beginning days, cultural revival was a priority issue to heal the effects of residential schools; and, in present day, priorities are language protection and fluent speaker acquisition.