New guide offers starting point for communities in journey to revitalize Indigenous languages

Resource is designed to be accessible for all Indigenous language advocates, educators, speakers, leaders and learners

EDMONTON — A new guide is offering support for Indigenous people, communities and organizations to keep their languages alive and spoken for generations to come.

Released ahead of National Indigenous Languages Day on March 31, Towards Indigenous Language Revitalization: An Informative Resource offers advice related to tailoring strategies for language learning and revitalization, says Pamela McCoy Jones, executive director of Supporting Indigenous Language Revitalization (SILR), which developed the guide. SILR is a six-year initiative administered by the University of Alberta to support Indigenous and community-led projects to revitalize languages.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ in this work, and there’s this broad scope of effort and investment that is necessary,” McCoy Jones says, adding the work of language revitalization requests a collective effort across the board from communities and leaders to educators and policy workers.

The guide focuses on education, advocacy and sustainability. Some of the strategies include developing curriculum for Indigenous language instruction spanning early learning to Grade 12, along with creating resources to support that curriculum.

In addition, political advocacy is emphasized as a way to raise awareness about the importance of revitalizing languages in sustaining Indigenous cultures and well-being, as is policy development for protecting and preserving distinct cultural history and sovereignty.

The guide draws on Indigenous language movements and strategies already underway in communities, First Nations schools and post-secondary institutions across Canada. It recognizes the richness and complexity of Indigenous languages and how they are intertwined with cultural, social and historical contexts.

"This resource helps transform and strengthen the capacity of Indigenous-led language revitalization,” McCoy Jones says. "We wanted to provide an abundance of information so that anyone looking at language learning would be inspired, and able to see themselves in this resource as learners, developers and advocates."

More information can be found here. To speak with Pamela McCoy Jones, please contact: Sarah Vernon | University of Alberta communications associate |