(Flickr/Province of British Columbia)

Province invests $50M to save B.C.’s 34 Indigenous languages

Funds will go towards the preservation and revitalization of languages spoken by less than 6,000 people

A plan is in place to develop and implement revitalization plans for each of the living Indigenous languages in British Columbia.

During the provincial government’s 2018 budget announcement last month, $50 million was allocated to the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) to reverse the disruption to Indigenous languages from Canada’s history of colonization and residential schools, and address the current language crisis.

According to the province, fewer than 6,000 people speak one of the 34 Indigenous languages in B.C.

“Language is critical for connecting Indigenous peoples to their culture, spirituality, identity and land,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “For too long, Indigenous language has been under threat. The time has come for us to support First Nations in exercising their human right to speak and pass on their language and culture.”

RELATED: One-sixth of B.C. residents don’t speak English at home

With these funds, the FPCC will expand community immersion programs that support the development of fluent speakers of Indigenous languages. These include the Mentor-Apprentice program, which pairs fluent speakers with apprentices for one-on-one immersion training, and the Pre-school Language Nest program, which supports the creation of language and culture immersion environments for children and their parents.

Another pilot project, the Silent Speakers program, will also become permanent. This program helps those who understand, but do not speak their language, overcome challenges with using it in their communities.

“We are taking action now to support Indigenous communities’ work to preserve and revitalize endangered languages – languages that are cornerstones of cultural and social identities across our province,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “By investing in Indigenous languages, we invest in the future of Indigenous communities. I am proud our government is making this historic commitment.”

These language revitalization plans will be developed with Indigenous communities and tailored to their individual needs. The FPCC will also provide funding to increase the number of words and phrases uploaded to the FirstVoices online oral dictionary, and expand the online resources available for language learners and speakers.

RELATED: Saving an Indigenous language through teaching

“The First Nations communities we have been working with are seeing clear and measurable results, creating fluent language speakers as new knowledge keepers and documenting languages for future generations,” said Tracey Herbert, CEO of the FPCC. “This new funding will help us to build on our strong track record of success, and expand our work to all Indigenous communities in B.C., to help their mother-tongue languages flourish again.”

British Columbia has the greatest diversity of Indigenous languages in Canada. The 34 unique Indigenous languages, and over 90 dialects, represent 60% of all Indigenous languages in the country.

A map of First Peoples’ languages throughout British Columbia can be found here.



ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

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

 

(Flickr/Province of British Columbia)

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

Prices for recreational marijuana in B.C. down from a year ago

New inflation figures show gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food cost more

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

Veteran B.C. journalist battles cancer through pioneering immunotherapy treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

Most Read