(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

 

(Flickr/Province of British Columbia)

Just Posted

Actor hits playhouse tonight, in honour of her sister

Langley’s Elyse Ritchie may be an administrator by day, but by night she loves being on stage.

Langley students awarded for historic knowledge

Several students were singled out for awards at a recent Heritage Fair.

Young Langley golfer has strong weekend

Emma Yang shot two under part in her division.

The Circus is coming to Aldergrove

Great Benjamins Circus is coming to thrill fans of high-wire derring-do in Aldergrove in May

VIDEO: Two Langley musicians join Motown Meltdown

Fundraiser on tap at the Commodore this weekend.

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Most Read