Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

December 16, 2009 13:30 ET

The Government of Canada Supports Aboriginal Language Preservation

ALERT BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 16, 2009) - On behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, John Duncan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Member of Parliament (Vancouver Island North), today announced funding for the U'mista Cultural Society for their project "Talking with Technology."

The funding will allow the Society to create video and audio recordings of Elders speaking the Kwak'wala language. These professionally recorded audio and video files will be digitally archived in the collections of the U'mista and will be available to the Kwakwaka'wakw and other language learners and teachers for their lesson planning. In addition, 12 new Kwak'wala language lessons plans will be produced and made available on the U'mista website.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to partner with an organization that is contributing to the revitalization and promotion of an Aboriginal language," said Minister Moore. "These materials being developed and created with the latest technologies will help ensure that unique elements of this culture can be passed down and shared."

"The U'mista Cultural Society is an important part of the community and an essential repository for First Nations cultural heritage," said Mr. Duncan. "Preserving the Kwak'wala language will help to retain an important piece of our shared history and to advance a vibrant and sustainable culture well into the future."

The U'mista Cultural Society was created in British Columbia in 1974. Its mandate is to ensure the survival of all aspects of Kwakwaka'wakw cultural heritage.

The Government of Canada has provided $50,000 in funding through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) Innovation Fund. The objective of the ALI Innovation Fund is to encourage and support innovative community-based language projects utilizing existing technology in the promotion and preservation of First Nations languages. The Aboriginal Languages Initiative provides funding to support the preservation and promotion of Aboriginal languages to increase their use in community and family settings. The Initiative is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage's Aboriginal Peoples' Program, which supports the full participation of Aboriginal peoples in Canadian society and the promotion, revitalization, and preservation of Aboriginal languages and cultures. It also helps enable Aboriginal peoples to address the social, cultural, economic, and political issues affecting their lives.

(This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Official Languages
    Deirdra McCracken - Director of Communications
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations