Our History

Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa (Our Language Society) was established in 1999 by Owennatekha (Brian Maracle) and Onekiyohstha (Audrey Maracle) under the umbrella of the Iroquoian Institute with funding support from Grand River Employment and Training (GREAT).

We began teaching night classes once a week that year with Kanatawakhon (David Maracle) as the instructor. The full-time program began in September, 1999 with Kanatawakhon again as the instructor. he was assisted by Owennatekha and several community members: Tehahenteh (Frank Miller), Isabel Maracle (deceased), Ruth Isaacs (deceased) and Vina Loft (deceased). Eleven students enrolled and nine students completed the program in May, 2000.

Owennatekha became the lead instructor in September, 2000 with continued funding support from GREAT. When the Iroquoian Institute ceased functioning about this time, Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa became independent.

In 2007, we established an articulation agreement with the University of Western Ontario whereby Onkwawenna students receive university credits when they subsequently enroll at U.W.O.

In 2009, we began using the  Oral Language Proficiency Guidelines established by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) to assess the student fluency.

Since we began teaching 25 years ago, 160 students have completed the First- or Second-Year Program. Even though we are not a teacher-training institution, many of our graduates have gone on to teach the language at the pre-school, elementary, secondary, university and community level.