Our Beginning...

CILLDI originally developed as a joint venture between Indigenous language researchers and activists at the University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan. It was coordinated at the University of Alberta by Heather Blair (Elementary Education), Donna Paskemin (Native Studies), and Sally Rice (Linguistics) and at the University of Saskatchewan by Priscilla Settee (Indigenous Peoples Program) and Edie Hyggen (Indian Teacher Education Program).

 Our Growth...

The CILLDI summer school began in 2000 with a Cree immersion class unlike anything previously offered at the U of A or the U of S. For the program's first three summers, classes were held in or near Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The 2003 Institute marked the beginnings of a change in practice for CILLDI. More classes were offered, and the summer school moved to a new home on the University of Alberta campus. CILLDI has been held in Edmonton on the U of A campus ever since.

 Our Present...

Today, CILLDI continues to be dedicated to the revitalization of Indigenous languages through documentation, teaching, and literacy.

In addition to the annual summer school in Edmonton, CILLDI also partners with Indigenous communities and language activists around the world on various efforts throughout the year. Past community initiatives have included dictionary projects, in-community courses, and developing language teaching materials.

The CILLDI Summer School 

Since 1999, CILLDI has provided training to Indigenous language champions, helping them better protect, preserve, promote, practice, and pass on their languages. This includes the opportunity to earn university credits while learning about selected Indigenous languages and cultures in Canada. We are very pleased to have so many returning students each year. Through a variety of course offerings, CILLDI provides training in documentation, language analysis, language planning and pedagogy.



The research arm of CILLDI aims to explore and promote the methodologies by which we document, revitalize, and promote Indigenous languages. Research is a virtuous cycle; by engaging in this work, we can learn and grow as educators and advocates of language revitalization. We can gather resources and engage with a global network of researchers and language activists to enrich our understanding of this work, which is in turn disseminated to our students and network of educators and researchers. 


Community Work 

CILLDI has a long history of partnering with Indigenous communities and language activists around the world on a variety of projects.

 Partners and Projects