Government of Canada supports Indigenous languages in Quebec
Kahnawake, Quebec, November 14, 2018
Marc Miller, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced today that the Government of Canada is providing $275,558 to the Kahnawake Iakwahwatsiratátie Language Nest, over two years, to preserve and promote the Mohawk language. Mr. Miller made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.
The funding was provided through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative and will enable the Iakwahwatsiratátie Language Nest to offer 1,700 hours of Mohawk language courses to 48 participants in the community through the use of language and cultural activities.
The Iakwahwatsiratátie Language Nest is a non-profit organization mandated to take immediate action to address the loss of Mohawk as a first language. The goal is to teach Mohawk to parents and children in a natural learning environment so they can adopt it as their first language.
“No relationship is more important to our government than the one with Indigenous people. The preservation, promotion and revitalization of Indigenous languages are essential components of reconciliation. I take pride in today’s announcement, as the funds will be used to consolidate efforts to preserve Indigenous languages in Quebec.”
– The Honorable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism
“Indigenous languages are an integral part of the Indigenous identity and Canada’s cultural identity. We are pleased to support the efforts of the Iakwahwatsiratátie Language Nest to preserve and promote the Mohawk language.”
– Mr. Marc Miller, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“The parents, children and staff of the Iakwahwatsiratátie Language Nest are very pleased to receive help through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative. This funding will allow us to continue our very important work of helping families learn Kanien’keha and continue to be an integral part of the growing community effort to keep Kanien’keha alive for generations to come. Niawenhkó: wa.”
– Ms. Karihwakátste Cara Deer, Coordinator, Iakwahwatsiratátie Language Nest
UNESCO designated three-quarters of Canada’s 90 Indigenous living languages as “endangered.” UNESCO also found that there are no Indigenous languages in the “safe” languages category.
In 2016, only 15.6% of Indigenous people could converse in an Indigenous language, compared to 17% of Indigenous people in 2011 and 21% in 2006. Of those overall numbers, 21% of First Nations people, 64% of Inuit and 2% of Métis could converse in an Indigenous language.
In 2016, only 12.5% of Indigenous people declared their mother tongue was an Indigenous language, compared to 14.5% in 2011.
In 2016, 13.3% of Indigenous people declared that they spoke an Indigenous language at home, either most of the time or on a regular basis.
In the 2017 budget, the Government of Canada invested $89.9 million over three years to preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages and culture.
The Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) supports the preservation, promotion and revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit languages through community projects and activities that include the publication of documents in Indigenous languages, Indigenous language courses and the development of Indigenous language preservation strategies.