This statement is also available in the following languages:
- Oji-Cree (translation will follow)
- Plains Cree (translation will follow)
- Western Ojibway
- Inuktitut (North Baffin)
Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage; Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services; and Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, release the following statement:
National Indigenous Languages Day provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the importance and unique diversity of Indigenous languages from coast to coast to coast. Languages carry with them the stories, cultures, and traditions of past generations and inspire future generations to hold sacred these teachings in their own languages. Language is fundamental to the identity, spirituality, and self-determination of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
There are more than 70 Indigenous languages spoken within Canada today, and due to a history of discriminatory government policies and practices, such as residential schools, none of them are safe. Through increased efforts to support Indigenous Peoples in the reclamation, revitalization and maintenance of their languages, there is an opportunity to strengthen these languages and ensure their vibrancy in the future. When we think of the relationships that we are renewing and rebuilding, grounded in respect and cooperation, we think of the commitment, passion and dedication that Indigenous Peoples have for safeguarding and revitalizing their languages.
Every day, we see examples of the great work done by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to revitalize and promote their languages:
- The Big Grassy First Nation Cultural Space and Shelter Building Project, which will provide a gathering area for the community to host cultural and language programs.
- The Nunamiutuqaq – Building from the Land Project, which was launched in November 2022. Part of this project will include building Kuugalak, a net-zero targeted cultural campus in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, that would function as a hub for documenting and mobilizing culture and language research across Nunavut.
- The development of two culture and language camps through the Culture and Language Camps Project. These facilities will be dedicated to culture and language programming with the Métis Nation of Ontario.
- The funding of more than 2,200 Indigenous community-driven projects such as mentor-apprenticeship programs, language nests, immersion, language classes, and the development of a range of learning tools and online resources since 2019.
The Government of Canada is committed to continuing to work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to put in place concrete and stable actions that will support the revitalization of their languages, no matter where they live. We have a foundation to build upon, but we must carry on in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, as much more is needed.
As part of the implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act, we will launch new funding models developed by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners to better meet distinct needs and to lead efforts to determine how funding can best support language revitalization, along with predictable long-term financial support. This is an important step in the right direction, but only a first step.
Supporting Indigenous languages is also one of the key initiatives of the Government of Canada’s MMIWG 2LSGBTQI+ plan called the Federal Pathway. As the foundation of cultures, identities, spirituality, and self-determination, Indigenous languages are often sources of support for healing and safety. We continue to support Indigenous communities in their efforts to strengthen and revitalize their cultural spaces, where they can speak and learn their languages.
We will continue our collaborative efforts so that, together, we will find ways for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis languages to thrive and be spoken for generations to come.