Assembly of First NationsAfter graduating from university, I had the opportunity to live in Canada for a year.

My knowledge of the country was pretty limited, to the extent that I didn’t know it is officially bilingual (French and English). I found an article discussing efforts to preserve indigenous Canadian languages interesting. The two official languages are supplemented by a range of indigenous languages, which do not get as much attention as French. (Note: “First Nations” refers only to the Indian aboriginal people of Canada. For more information, see here.)

By official count, there are more than 50 First Nations languages across Canada.

Some are thriving.

The Cree, for example, have as many as 80,000 everyday speakers. Dozens others, though, are in danger of disappearing. In 1998, the Assembly of First Nations declared a state of language emergency.

First Nations people aren’t the only ones concerned about the vanishing words. Linguists frantic to preserve the historical tongues are furiously collecting and recording data before all those speak them pass away.

“There’s a sense of desperation, of our data disappearing before our eyes, ” laments aboriginal language expert Darin Flynn from the University of Calgary.

Southern Alberta provides an example of the dangers facing First Nation languages across the country.

The Treaty 7 languages – Tsuu T’ina, Stoney Nakoda and Blackfoot – are each at different stages of decline. (Source:

Let’s hope that all the effort put in to bilingualism in Canada will also recognise these indigenous languages. Read the full article here.