Preserving, Promoting and Revitalizing Indigenous Languages in Quebec

News release

MONTRÉAL, November 14, 2018

Marc Miller, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, today announced that the Government of Canada is providing $344,292 over two years to the Centre de Développement Communautaire Autochtone de Montréal (Native Montréal) in order to preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages in the Greater Montréal area. Mr. Miller made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.

This funding, provided through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative, will allow the Centre to offer courses in seven Indigenous languages to students of all ages at the beginner and intermediate level. There will also be two language camps offered to 24 young people. The funding will also make it possible to produce student workbooks, illustrated guides and audio teaching resources.

The Centre de Développement Communautaire Autochtone de Montréal (Native Montréal) is a not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to contribute to the overall health, cultural pride and success of the Indigenous families, individuals and community in the Greater Montréal area.

Quotes

“The preservation, promotion and revitalization of Indigenous languages is paramount to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Today’s announcement shows our commitment to continuing on this path. We are proud to work with organizations that take the preservation of Indigenous languages to heart.”

—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

“Indigenous languages are a core part of both Canada’s cultural identity and Indigenous identity. We are proud to support the work of Native Montréal.”

—Marc Miller, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“In an urban setting, where one lives relatively little on the land and traditional activities are practised less and less often by First Nations and Inuit, language itself takes on paramount—even unprecedented—importance in maintaining and passing on Indigenous cultures.”

—Philippe Meilleur, Executive Director, Native Montréal

Quick facts

  • Three out of four of the 90 different living Indigenous languages in Canada are classified by UNESCO as “endangered.” No Indigenous languages fall under the UNESCO category of “safe.”

  • In 2016, only about 15.6 percent of Indigenous people could converse in an Indigenous language, down from 17 percent in 2011 and 21 percent in 2006. Among First Nations people, 21 percent can converse in an Indigenous language; this figure is 64 percent among Inuit and 2 percent among Métis.

  • In 2016, only 12.5 percent of the Indigenous population reported an Indigenous mother tongue, down from 14.5 percent in 2011.

  • In 2016, 13.3 percent of Indigenous people reported speaking an Indigenous language at home most of the time or regularly.

  • In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada committed $89.9 million over three years to preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures.

  • The Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) supports the preservation, promotion and revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit languages through community-based projects and activities, including printed resources in an Indigenous language, language classes and the development of language preservation strategies.

  • The funding announced today will support a total of 1,320 hours of language training, which will be delivered each year in a similar manner in seven Indigenous languages (Wendat, Cree, Anishnabe, Kanien’keha, Innu, Atikamekw and Inuktitut) to 480 participants of all ages.

  • The six student workbooks will be produced in five Indigenous languages (Wendat, Cree, Algonquin, Atikamekw and Inuktitut) and translated into French and English.

  • The illustrated guide containing information relevant to running the language camp will be offered in three Indigenous languages (Cree, Kanien’keha and Inuktitut) and in English.

  • The audio material will be recorded in Wendat, Cree, Kanien’keha, Innu, Atikamekw, Algonquin and Inuktitut.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism
819-997-7788

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca


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