Indigenous Languages

Addressing the decline of Indigenous language speakers due to residential schools and contemporary policies and underfunding.

  The purpose of this policy table is to ensure that off-reserve and Non-status communities have access to services to preserve and transmit their traditional languages to younger generations, to acknowledge government responsibility under Indigenous language rights for all Indigenous people, and ensure that supports are delivered through long-term sustainable funding mechanisms, rather than short-term bidding processes. It will also reform the ‘distinctions-based approach’ away from an exclusionary, organization-focused, and membership-focused model, towards an inclusive model that respects off-reserve and Non-status Indigenous people on a substantively equitable basis by designing funding streams and programming for off-reserve and Non-status Indigenous communities, to meet the unique challenges of those populations recognizing the additional need they face. CAP will also ensure the 12 principles of the Indigenous Languages Act apply equally to off-reserve and Non-status Indigenous people in their development and application and support the development of community spaces for off-reserve and Non-status Indigenous people, for promotion and preservation of language and culture through integrating language and cultural programming into other programming – MMIWG, Elder Inclusion, family programming, and other initiatives. This will exercise the powers of the act for the purposes of supporting language among CAP’s constituents, specifically that The Minister of Canadian Heritage may enter into different types of agreements or arrangements in respect of Indigenous languages with Indigenous governments or other Indigenous governing bodies or Indigenous organizations, taking into account the unique circumstances and needs of Indigenous groups, communities and peoples.

Conclusion - the important takeaway

For off-reserve communities, resource needs are particularly high, because off-reserve groups must serve a range of language groups coming from multiple backgrounds. Many Indigenous people only receive formal education on their culture and language once they are off-reserve. Sustainable resources are necessary for programming; pilot projects and bidding processes undermine long-term capacity. CAP continues to explore options for supporting its constituency in language revitalization.