Ancestral languages are essential to Indigenous identities in Canada

Recent protests against the federal government’s approach to Indigenous language legislation is the latest manifestation of concern regarding the maintenance and flourishing of Indigenous languages and culture. Although these latest protests are centred around jurisdiction and funding, the fundamental issue for Indigenous peoples is support for an essential part of their identity. My work in [...]

After 50 years of the Official Languages Act, what is the place of French in Canada?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act and the International Day of La Francophonie on March 20, an Open Caucus was held at the Senate of Canada to reflect on the place of French in Canada. Professors Stéphanie Chouinard, Michael MacMillan and Benoît Pelletier addressed the following question: What is the place [...]

By |2019-05-25T22:24:51+00:00May 25th, 2019|Canada, Language|0 Comments

Alberta teacher races to save dying Indigenous language before time runs out

A teacher in northern Alberta is racing to piece together a dying Indigenous language before the last few people who speak it are gone. For the past two years, Victoria Wanihadie has travelled the Peace River area to find people who remember the Beaver culture and language. She jots down their memories and records the [...]

By |2017-11-14T12:03:30+00:00November 14th, 2017|Beaver language, Canada, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

With fewer fluent speakers, demand for teachers of Indigenous languages is on the rise

A trend toward "Indigenizing" programming in schools by bringing Indigenous culture and languages into the classroom has led to a demand for teachers who are fluent in Indigenous languages. But with the number of Indigenous language speakers on the decline, school divisions have had a hard time finding qualified and certified teachers. "We had some [...]

By |2017-09-17T21:52:31+00:00September 18th, 2017|Canada, Education, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

Saving languages

An entire community had cause to celebrate when 11 Six Nations Polytechnic students graduated with the first bachelor of arts degree in Ogwehoweh languages. "It's been a long road to get here, involving countless people over many years of hard work, long hours of curriculum development, and not to mention weeks of studying by each [...]

Reconciliation Is Canada Embracing Its Many Indigenous Languages

"I was angry at my grandparents for a long time." Onowa McIvor grew up in northern Saskatchewan, where her grandparents feared prejudice against indigenous peoples and did everything they could to bury their Cree roots. They refused to teach the language to their children and grandchildren. McIvor felt robbed of her heritage. As McIvor learned [...]

By |2017-04-22T14:43:26+00:00April 23rd, 2017|Canada, First Nations, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

Looking for new ways to revitalize Yukon’s Indigenous languages

Organizers at a gathering this week in Whitehorse say it's time to find new ways to preserve First Nation languages. Yukon's Indigenous languages are in critical decline and the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) is looking for different approaches to a long-standing concern — how to ensure those languages survive. About 60 people gathered [...]

By |2017-03-08T21:20:45+00:00March 8th, 2017|Canada, First Nations, Indigenous languages, Yukon|0 Comments

The fight is on to save Toronto’s endangered languages

From Harari, spoken in eastern Ethiopia, to Bukhori, spoken by Bukharan Jews in central Asia, an organization is looking to record Toronto's linguistic diversity before it's too late. Anastasia Riehl, co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance Toronto, spoke on CBC Radio's Metro Morning about the race against time to capture and preserve the languages of [...]

By |2017-02-21T22:32:54+00:00February 22nd, 2017|Canada, Endangered Languages, Languages, Toronto|0 Comments

University of Toronto professors fight to save dying Indigenous languages

The Indigenous language Ryan DeCaire is fighting to save isn't one he spoke regularly — or fluently — while growing up on Wahta Mohawk territory. "People [with Mohawk ancestry] are saying words like, 'hello', 'goodbye', 1,2,3' but is that all there is?," DeCaire asked himself. The questions spurred him to realize that the only people [...]

By |2017-02-11T17:01:35+00:00February 12th, 2017|Canada, Indigenous languages, North America|0 Comments

Justin Trudeau’s proposed Indigenous languages act will need teeth to succeed

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government would be proposing a Canadian Indigenous Languages Act. Few details are yet available about what this act might look like, but the Northwest Territories can perhaps shed some light on such language legislation because we have had an Official Languages Act here since 1984 [...]