For Indigenous Languages Month this February, the GNWT is encouraging Northern residents to keep themselves informed, and expand their understanding of the various Indigenous languages of the Territory.
The NWT is the only political region in Canada that recognizes 11 ofﬁcial languages. Of these languages, nine are Indigenous: Dene Kǝdǝ́, Dene Zhatıé, Dëne Sųłıné, Dinjii Zhu’ Ginjik, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, nēhiyawēwin and Tłı̨chǫ.
The loss of Indigenous languages is an ongoing challenge across the territory and around the world. To reverse the loss of language and culture and keep Indigenous languages alive and thriving, the GNWT is encouraging all residents to use Indigenous languages, whether it is their first language or not.
Caitlin Cleaveland, the Minister of Official Languages, said in a statement that “Using Indigenous languages every day, whether at home, school or out in your community, promotes their use. We do not have to be fluent in the language to make a difference. Practicing Indigenous languages and incorporating them into daily life is a step we can all take to reverse the loss of language and culture.”
An online toolkit has been made available for those who wish to take part in the practice, sharing different ideas on how Northerners can use Indigenous languages in casual conversation.
The toolkit can be found by clicking here.