(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

BC Cannabis Stores set to open in Williams Lake Nov. 27

BC Cannabis Stores is slated to open for business at 10 a.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Elderly woman victim of fatal McLeese Lake collision Saturday with semi truck

Witnesses who have not already spoken with police are asked to call traffic services at 250-392-6211

David Chapman elected Quesnel school board chair

Tony Goulet was acclaimed as the board’s vice-chairperson

Kate’s Bestie’s Wedding raises over $6,900

The funny fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel is being hailed as a great success

Assistance in purchasing hay for Cariboo-Chilcotin ranchers

‘This program could be the difference of many ranches remaining viable’

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperate breeding program

B.C.’s ‘Dr. Frankenstein of guns’ back in jail yet again for trafficking in Glock parts

Bradley Michael Friesen has parole revoked for allegedly importing gun parts yet again

B.C. woman suing after laser hair removal leaves her with ‘severe’ burns, scarring

Nadeau felt ‘far more pain’ than usual during the treatment

$2.9 million judgment in B.C. blueberry farm sabotage lawsuit

The new owners saw most of their farm ruined just as they took possession

B.C. to more than double sales tax on vaping products

Tax up from 7 to 20 per cent, tobacco tax up two cents

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave Indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

Most Read