Indigenous language revitalization

alumna Lucy Bell/Sdaahl K’awaas, member of the Haida Nation

Masters in Indigenous Language Revitalization and Diploma in Cultural Resource Management alumna Lucy Bell/Sdaahl K’awaas, member of the Haida Nation, is (pictured above) the Head of First Nations and Repatriation for the Royal BC Museum and the first person to hold this position at the museum. Since 2005, she has coordinated the return of more than 500 Haida ancestors from museums throughout North America and the UK.

The entire staff at the Chisasibi Heritage and Cultural Centre

The entire staff at the Chisasibi Heritage and Cultural Centre (pictured above) enrolled in the CALR program and 14 of the graduating students drove 16 hours from Chisasibi, on the edge of James Bay, to Ottawa before boarding a flight to Victoria to attend convocation in June 2018 at UVic.

Shown here is one component of the learning kit for a cohort of SENĆOŦEN learners in UVic's Diploma in Indigenous Language Revitalization program.

Shown here is one component of the learning kit for a cohort of SENĆOŦEN learners in UVic's Diploma in Indigenous Language Revitalization program.

Near Cambridge Bay, students learn to ice-jig for fish as part of the CALR program offered by Continuing Studies and the Department of Linguistics at UVic, with Nunavut Arctic College. (Photo credit: Saa Pitsiulak)

Near Cambridge Bay, students learn to ice-jig for fish as part of the Certificate in Aboriginal Language Revitalization program offered by Continuing Studies and the Department of Linguistics at UVic, with Nunavut Arctic College. (Photo credit: Saa Pitsiulak)

Joye Walkus, BEd (shown above at convocation in June 2015), wears the Chilkat blanket which belonged to her grandfather who taught Joye her first words of the Kwak'wala language.

Joye Walkus, BEd (shown above at convocation in June 2015), wears the Chilkat blanket which belonged to her grandfather who taught Joye her first words of the Kwak'wala language.

(l-r) Onowa McIvor of Indigenous Education with Sonya Bird from Linguistics and Trish Rosborough and Nick Claxton from Indigenous Education brought the UVic curriculum for the first time across Canada, to the University of Saskatchewan in July 2016.

(l-r) Onowa McIvor of Indigenous Education with Sonya Bird from Linguistics and Trish Rosborough and Nick Claxton from Indigenous Education brought the UVic curriculum for the first time across Canada, to the University of Saskatchewan in July 2016.

Our recent stories

Honouring Indigenous languages

Embedded within each Indigenous language is a wealth of knowledge and unique expression beyond words and sentences. Each language carries and represents a whole history and relationship to the land, distinct ways of thinking, as well as knowledge about living in the world, seasons, place names, ceremony, plants and more.

BC is home to more than half of the approximately 60 different Indigenous languages in Canada. Indigenous communities are working hard to ensure the survival of their languages.

For over 40 years, UVic researchers, instructors, students and collaborators have been deeply immersed in local and national efforts, working with Indigenous organizations, Elders, community-based researchers, language-revival specialists, community language experts and educators.

In UVic’s Indigenous language revitalization programs, our students:

  • build their language proficiency
  • conduct research related to Indigenous languages
  • prepare themselves to be tomorrow’s teachers and interpreters
  • connect generations of Indigenous language speakers and educate future generations
  • curate oral histories, and create new dictionaries, videos and apps
  • develop curriculum and practical strategies for Indigenous languages to thrive and flourish

Building on years of respectful partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations, UVic responds to community goals by playing a direct and active role in supporting the revitalization of the first languages of this land.

Heeding the call for action on truth and reconciliation

The Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission highlight the grave need for deeper conversations, increased funding and a collective effort to protect and renew Indigenous languages. The university is heeding that call

Here are five easy ways to support Indigenous people in your community working to revive their languages.

Meet some of our students, Indigenous scholars and researchers

See more videos from the Indigenous Language Revitalization playlist on YouTube.