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

UPDATED: Taylor Flats wildfire in the Alberni Valley under control

Fire is located close to Highway 4 near Sproat Lake

EDITORIAL: Plastics ban needs to start from the top

The more people talk about the plastics ban, the more it may catch on elsewhere…

West Coast Amateur in Port Alberni a success

Top overall winner, with a gross score of 140, was Derek Reid from Arbutus Ridge

ARTS AROUND: Last call for cruise ship vendors

Last cruise ship arrives in the Alberni Inlet on July 6

BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni businesses celebrate milestones

RE/MAX Mid-Island moving into new building on Johnston Road

VIDEO: Sproat Lake Fire Department demonstrates sprinkler safety

Demonstration only took 3-5 minutes to create a deadly scenario where no one could survive

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Most Read