Red stop-sign in hthree languages, cree, english and french.
Indigenous peoples in Canada

Indigenous peoples in the area that is now called Canada lived there for tens of thousands of years before settlers arrived, mainly from the UK and France.

There are three distinct groups of Indigenous peoples in Canada. One of these are First Nations. There are more than 630 First Nation communities in Canada, representing more than 50 Nations and languages. Another Indigenous people is the Inuit, Indigenous people of the Arctic who speak the language Inuktut. The third distinct Indigenous peoples are the Métis – people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry.

Endangered languages

Cree, as it’s called in English, is one of the Indigenous languages in Canada that is in danger of dying out. It belongs to the linguistic family of Algonquin and comes in many variants.

This boy from Cree Nation was photographed over one hundred years ago,when many more people still spoke Cree.

For generations, Indigeneous children in, for example, Cree-speaking areas were separated from their parents at a young age. Forced to live at boarding schools, they were punished if they spoke Cree. When they went home for a short time in the summer, they had forgotten their language and couldn’t even communicate with to their families. For every year that passed, fewer and fewer people were left who could speak Cree and other Indigenous languages.

With materials like these, the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg works to keep the language alive. Elders teach both children and adults Anishinabe language and culture.

Today, more and more people, children and adults, want to learn their languages. Elders, schools and communities fight hard to save the languages before it’s too late.

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