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

Just Posted

Town council votes to reclassify LB Warner lot for residential use

Smithers just got one step closer to more affordable housing, but there are still many to go

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

A medical first saved Ryan Jones’ life

The 25-year-old Smithers man is almost fully recovered after being effectively dead.

Steelheads recruiting event shows promise

A small but enthusiastic group of organizers is hoping to put a Smithers team back in the CIHL

Fletcher disregards facts on climate action

Letter writer Macrae says inaction jeopardizes jobs

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Canfor curtailing operations across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Haida youth travels to New York for UN forum on Indigenous issues

Haana Edensaw presented her speech in Xaad Kil, Masset dialect of the Haida language

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read