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

Mistrial declared in Chilliwack’s David Lee Roth impersonator underage sex case

David Kuntz-Angel convicted in August but BC Supreme Court Justice’s ‘mental faculties’ questioned

Housing needs of Chilliwack are the focus of new survey

City of Chilliwack is gathering information about housing needs of residents now and down the line

Chilliwack’s Greg DeVries being inducted into Canada West Hall of Fame

The former sharpshooter led the University of Alberta to a pair of national basketball titles.

OPINION: Should Charter protection against cruel and unusual treatment be extended to corporations?

B.C. Civil Liberties Association intervenes in case to be heard by Supreme Court of Canada Wednesday

Free wellness event offers group meditation, reiki, healing at Tractorgrease in Chilliwack

It takes place this weekend featuring music, kombucha, traditional First Nations medicine and more

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Much-raided Langley animal rescue society loses registered charitable status

Revoked following an audit by Canada Revenue Agency, records show

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

All Carlton Cards stores closing in the coming weeks

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close, including 79 in Canada

Youth hit with gun butt during fight at Lower Mainland mall

RCMP are investigating the fight between two groups of youths

Most Read