The Commission is currently undertaking research to inform the development and content of a language directory. Once developed, this directory will allow users to select a language or dialect from a list, connecting users to related information or resources.

Research involves determining what are root languages, versus dialects versus regional variations.

Past research indicates that there are 12 Indigenous languages’ families currently recognized in Canada*. Within those Indigenous languages’ families, it is estimated there may be anywhere between 65 to 90 (or more) individual Indigenous languages.

The Commission’s work will undertake to identify whether:

  • any Indigenous languages may have been historically overlooked, e.g. due to smaller or remote populations
  • unique languages or dialects have been grouped together arbitrarily without distinction or understanding
  • there are overlaps such as a language widely known by a name that was chosen by other groups or individuals, rather than the native speakers of the language themselves

*See Statistics Canada, “Census in Brief: The Aboriginal languages of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit.” October 25, 2017

A large sled carrying two Inuit hunters is being pulled across a frozen body of water by snowmobile, with snow-covered hills on the shoreline in the distance.