Indigenous languages in Canada are characterized through 12 overarching language families Michif, 10 Fist Nations and Inuit. Language families include Algonquian languages, Inuit languages, Athapaskan languages, Siouan languages, Salish languages, Tsimshian languages, Wakashan languages, Iroquoian languages, Michif, Tlingit, Kutenai and Haida.
In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that of the approximate 1.4 million Indigenous people in Canada only 213,490 or 15% reported an Indigenous language as their mother tongue.1
According to UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Language in Danger, 32 Indigenous languages are critically endangered, 24 are severely endangered, 6 are definitely endangered and 22 are vulnerable.2
The transference of languages from one generation to another has been severely impacted by colonization. In the Final Report of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, the report referred to forbidding the use of languages (Indigenous added) in schools and the press.3 The report concluded that targeted elimination of Indigenous languages was one-way colonial structures attempted to end Indigenous culture in Canada.4
On June 21, 2019 the Indigenous Languages Act received Royal Assent. However, the Act did not make Indigenous languages official languages nor did the Act recognize the importance of Indigenous women in the transfer of Indigenous languages to future generations.