CAN$39.4 million is being invested to support the efforts of communities, organizations, and governments in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut to reclaim, revitalize, maintain, and strengthen their languages.
The announcement was made on behalf of the minister of Canadian heritage Pablo Rodríguez at the Yellowknives Dene First Nation community center. This organization is receiving funding to deliver language and culture classes and camps, as well as to develop lesson plans, books, videos, and reference documents, in the Wiiliideh language.
The government of Canada recognizes that the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are best placed to lead in the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance, and strengthening of their languages. Funds committed to date will increase the number of community-driven activities dedicated to keeping Indigenous languages alive. This investment will facilitate language-learning activities including language instruction, language nests, language and culture camps, land-based teachings, language development and translation, mentor–apprentice programs, and language training for instructors. Funds will also support the development of multimedia resources, dictionaries, online and digital language training, and strategic language plans.
In addition to funding community-based initiatives, these investments will support each of the four Inuit land-claim organizations in developing and implementing their own Indigenous languages strategies. This funding will also support the governments of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in delivering services, activities, programs, and resources to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in their own languages.
“Intergenerational and systemic impacts of the residential school system have heavily imposed threats to our language. It is important for us to celebrate the revitalization of our language and for everyone to recognize our Wiiliideh language officially. This event is important as it’s an opportunity to advocate for our languages, distinguishing from other languages. This funding is a step forward reconciling our heritage and identity,” commented Chief Edward Sangris of Dettah.