Four middle and high school students who are learning Kwak’wala, one of B.C.’s many indigenous languages. The girls also spoke at the United Nations General Assembly as part of the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages. (From left) Kiara Child, Natalya Child, Mariah Child and Talia Child.

60 per cent of all Canadian Indigenous languages are in B.C.

Provincial government says $50M in revitalization is money well spent

B.C. has the largest diversity of Indigenous languages in Canada and the provincial government says the $50 million committed towards revitalization efforts last year is bearing fruit.

B.C. has 34 unique Indigenous languages and over 90 dialects, making up 60 per cent of all First Nations languages in Canada.

ALSO READ: Court approves First Nations Health Authority’s strong medicine

This rich linguistic diversity was badly damaged by past colonial policies and, today, fewer than 6,000 people speak one of the province’s 34 Indigenous languages.

“Crisis is a strong word, but an appropriate one. Colonial policies designed to sever Indigenous peoples’ connections to language and culture had devastating results,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

ALSO READ: Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Referring to last week’s National Indigenous Languages Day, Fraser said it was important to “lift up our hands to the many language champions working to address the language crisis facing Indigenous peoples. Champions like a young woman from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation who told me that learning her language was like seeing the world in colour for the first time.”

Fraser said thanks to $50 million in government funding, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council has been able to offer more language revitalization support, such as 167 language grants and more training opportunities, involving 475 people.

The council is also set to launch Reclaiming My Language: A Course for Silent Speakers, which is designed for people who understand but don’t speak their language.

ALSO READ: Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

“We can all be encouraged with the growing interest in, and support for, Indigenous language revitalization across the country and around the world. In its recent budget, the federal government committed to some new investments to support Indigenous languages and legislation to protect and promote Indigenous languages across the country. The United Nations has designated 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and in June, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation will welcome Indigenous language speakers and experts to Victoria for a major international conference on Indigenous language revitalization.”

Fraser noted that Grand Chief Ed John, one of the champions of the UN designation, recently said that Indigenous languages are fundamental to First Nations members’ survival, dignity and well–being.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD gives temporary use permit for mud racing

Applicants had originally searched for rezoning

Grants for assistance extinguished for independent fire departments within Cariboo Regional District

Ten fire departments will be impacted, CRD-funded and managed fire departments will not be impacted

Bighorn sheep undergoing COVID-like test

‘If only the bighorn sheep knew to socially-distance from their domestic cousins’

Dynamic Reforestation tree planters donate $8,400 to Cariboo food banks

‘Right now I have almost 90 workers in the 100 Mile District’

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read