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Revitalizing Indigenous Languages in Canada


To mark the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL), the Canada School of Public Service is holding a panel discussion on the importance of Indigenous Language revitalization in Canada.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2019 as the IYIL to draw attention to the crucial importance of Indigenous languages for community well-being, good governance, reconciliation, diversity and sustainability.

Indigenous Peoples represent more than 5,000 languages and cultures, in more than 70 nations, on 6 continents. Most Indigenous Peoples have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics distinct from other segments of national populations. However, recognition of their humanity and rights has been a long and difficult time coming.

Indigenous Peoples across Canada are working tirelessly to reverse the harm colonization caused to the languages of their territories, and their efforts are having an impact. The numbers of people able to speak Indigenous languages is on the rise, and twice as many children as Elders speak an Indigenous language. In Canada, the 2011 census reported more than 60 Indigenous languages spoken from coast to coast to coast.

Taking into account the numerous languages in Canada, panellists will provide insights into the daily work of revitalizing and maintaining Indigenous languages.


  • Dr. Peter Jacobs, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, Simon Fraser University, and Co-Lead, NEȾOLṈEW̱Project
  • Jean-Luc Fournier, Toponymy Analyst, Geographical Names Board of Canada Secretariat, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation, Natural Resources Canada
  • Dolores Greyeyes Sand, Plains Cree Language Teacher, Celebrating Indigenous Languages Project


Benoît Trottier, Senior Learning Advisor, Canada School of Public Service

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