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Revitalizing Vancouver Island’s Indigenous languages

Revitalizing Vancouver Island’s Indigenous languages

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Indigenous people from across Vancouver Island are striving to ensure their languages live on through fluent speakers.

Author: Kathryn Marlow, CBC News

This year, CBC Radio’s afternoon show in Victoria has been speaking to some of the many people working to revitalize the Indigenous languages spoken across Vancouver Island and southwestern B.C. Time is of the essence to keep the languages awake, and to use them to rebuild better relationships with the land. To explore the areas where these languages are spoken, click this map from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council .

A multi-generational project

Many Indigenous people are in a race against time to keep the languages of their ancestors alive.

In some communities in British Columbia, only a few fluent speakers remain. In some cases, those people are "silent speakers" — elders who have knowledge of the language but have not actually spoken it since they were punished for using it as children in residential schools.

Now younger generations are taking up the cause.

Many young people, even those in their 40s and 50s, are learning and teaching their languages at the same time. Their hope is that children who are just starting school now will grow up into a new generation of fluent speakers.

These are the stories of just a few of those people, of all generations, who are working to revitalize Indigenous languages on Vancouver Island.


Additional Info

Media Contact : Kathryn Marlow, CBC News

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