Supporting Indigenous Language Projects in Manitoba

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced that the Government of Canada has provided funding in the amount of $87,973 for the Manitoba Children’s Hospital Indigenous Language Program.

For this project, Canadian Heritage is partnering with Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC), which will produce five illustrated children’s books in Cree, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree and Inuktitut, along with English and phonetics. The stories will focus on themes of childhood development and health care. The books will also be recorded in each of the four Indigenous languages.

Along with the participation of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, PCC is working with SayITFirst, the First Nations University of Canada and the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre, on this new project.

“There is no relationship more important to our government than the one with Indigenous Peoples. We know that the preservation, revitalization, and promotion of Indigenous languages is a vital part of the process of reconciliation. Our government took an important step forward in announcing $89.9 million over three years toward this objective, but there is more to do. This great partnership will empower young patients to engage with their language and culture while encouraging healing through the act of storytelling,” states The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Today’s announcement is part of the federal government’s effort to ensure the preservation, revitalization and promotion of First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages. This initiative is funded through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Aboriginal Languages Initiative, which supports community-based language projects that contribute to the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous languages and increase their use in community settings.

Quick Facts

Through Budget 2017, the Government is investing $89.9 million over the next three years to preserve, protect and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures.

Canadian Heritage is responsible for Indigenous languages. The Aboriginal Peoples’ Program (APP) focuses primarily on the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultures, strengthening Indigenous cultural identity, and increasing Indigenous participation in Canadian Society.

The Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI), a funding component of the APP, supports the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages through community-based projects and activities that range from the development of printed resources in an Indigenous language to language classes, to the development of language preservation strategies.

Since 2016–2017, with budget increase announced by the federal government to support Indigenous languages, ALI is now able to provide up to $19.5 million annually to projects.

In 2016–2017, ALI also funded PCC for a similar book project in Saskatchewan with the collaboration of SayItFirst. The book series was produced in three varieties of Cree, English, and phonetics.