Saving a Dying Language

Saving a Dying Language

(Image Courtesy of Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

By Katarina Ziervogel


First Nations languages are the essence of and share a great part in many cultures. Language keeps hundreds of years of First Nations’ culture alive and well through the spoken and written words that have a different interpretation than in the English language. Woefully, many of the First Nations languages were forgotten or erased in the process of European colonization during the 15th century. Today, there are very few languages that remain alive in Indigenous communities.

In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories around where the Inuit communities are (Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk, and Ulukhaktok), their language, Inuinnaqtun, is often spoken by the elders, but not the younger generation due to a grim result of the residential schools. Alas, the communication between the younger generations and older generations is not as effortless due to an inevitable language barrier.

Today, four Inuit women are fighting to strengthen the communication between the younger generations and the older generations, including helping the elders share the knowledge they’ve acquired in their lifetime. Read the Inuit women’s stories in the link attached below.