Supporting Indigenous Languages Across Saskatchewan

News release

REGINA, August 30, 2019

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced nearly $4.7 million in funding for 59 projects to support Indigenous languages across Saskatchewan. Minister Goodale made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.

Indigenous communities are best placed to determine the best ways to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen and maintain Indigenous languages. That is why the Department of Canadian Heritage is providing nearly $3 million to the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC) for the delivery of the Aboriginal Languages Initiative for First Nations communities in Saskatchewan. The SICC has funded 45 community-based projects including language camps, train-the-trainer programs, language immersion camps, mentor-apprentice programs, language nests, production and distribution of language resources (such as online tools, educational materials and children’s books).

Eight additional projects have received more than $700,000 from the Aboriginal Languages Initiative to support further Indigenous language efforts, the majority to support Michif language revitalization.

Canadian Heritage has also provided funding totalling nearly $1 million to six organizations in Saskatchewan through the Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting component. Green Lake Communications, Ile à la Crosse Communications Society, Minahik Achimowin, Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation, O.K. Creek Radio Station and the Northern Hamlet of Jans Bay will produce and broadcast more than 15,000 hours of culturally relevant radio and television programming, including more than 7,500 hours in Indigenous languages.

These 59 projects involve 10 languages: Cree, Plains Cree, Woodland Cree, Swampy Cree, Nakota, Michif, Dakota, Dene, Lakota and Saulteaux.

Quotes

“Language is essential to Indigenous Peoples’ identity and culture. That is why our government is committed to taking action to help preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages. This includes Royal Assent of the Indigenous Languages Act. Together with Indigenous partners, we are ensuring that these languages can flourish across the country.”

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

“Funding for programs like these, which put financial resources in the hands of those who know how to use them, is key to ensuring the vitality of Indigenous languages. We understand the importance of these projects, as they make a genuine difference and have a major impact in the communities.”

—The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Quick facts

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages. According to UNESCO, three out of four of the 90 Indigenous languages in Canada are considered endangered.

  • 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.

  • On June 21, 2019, the Governor General of Canada granted Royal Assent to the Indigenous Languages Act. Since 2017, Canadian Heritage has worked with national Indigenous organizations to develop this historic legislation.

  • Budget 2019 committed $333.7 million over five years, starting in 2019–2020, and $115.7 million per year ongoing to support the implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act.

  • The objectives of the Aboriginal Peoples’ Program (APP) are to:

    • promote, revitalize and preserve Indigenous languages and cultures;
    • strengthen Indigenous cultural identity; and
    • increase Indigenous participation in Canadian society.

    The APP offers two funding components to eligible Indigenous organizations: Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting and the Aboriginal Languages Initiative.

  • The Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting component of the APP supports Indigenous broadcasting societies in producing and distributing radio and television programming in the North. The objectives are to:

    • support the production of culturally relevant Indigenous programming;
    • facilitate establishment and maintenance of production facilities;
    • ensure availability of a significant amount of radio and television programming;
    • contribute to the preservation and promotion of Indigenous languages and cultures; and
    • provide venues to articulate issues of relevance to Indigenous audiences and communities.

    Applicants must be non-profit, democratically controlled, Indigenous organizations or working with Indigenous organizations that provide broadcast communications north of the 55th parallel (“Hamelin Line”).

  • The Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) component of the APP supports the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages through community-based projects and activities. The ALI aims to:

    • give Indigenous people access to community-based projects and activities that support the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultures;
    • assist Indigenous communities in their efforts to enhance languages and cultures; and
    • preserve Indigenous languages and cultures and enhance them as living cultures.

    Applicants must be non-profit, democratically controlled, Indigenous organizations or working with Indigenous organizations that support the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages.

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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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