Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 14: Language and Culture (13-17)

Government of Canada invests $17.7M over 3 years through Canada–Northwest Territories Agreement on Indigenous Languages

July 18, 2022

Today, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, announced the Government of Canada’s investment of $17,700,000 over three years (2021–22 to 2023–24) through the Canada–Northwest Territories Agreement on Indigenous Languages.

The Government of Canada and the Northwest Territories recognize the importance of Canada’s sustained support for the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages. The Canada–Northwest Territories Agreement on Indigenous Languages is an important agreement that maintains a collaborative framework between Canada and the Northwest Territories to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages in the Northwest Territories.

The funds will allow for an increase in the number of Indigenous-language resources available in the Northwest Territories. Courses in Indigenous languages will increase, as will the number of participants enrolled in learning these languages.

Indigenous languages are at the heart of First Nations, Inuit and Métis culture, identity and self-determination. They are used to share history through storytelling, to connect with the natural environment and to create familial bonds. With the help of initiatives like these, Indigenous people are reclaiming their languages and cultural knowledge, and continuing to use them as an authentic and powerful tool to share their own stories, in their own words.


“Language describes who we are, our identity, our feelings, culture, and histories. The investment announced today will help maintain the vitality of Indigenous languages in Northern regions including here in Yellowknife. Language not only reflects our identity as individuals and communities, but also holds our shared history and cultural heritage, and reveals our dreams for the future. For these reasons, the revitalization of Indigenous languages in the North, and throughout Canada, is and will remain a priority for me and for our government.”

—Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“The Government of the Northwest Territories acknowledges that language and culture contribute to a strong sense of identity, place, and pride for Northerners. Through our commitment to language revitalization, we will realize our shared vision of a territory where Indigenous languages and cultures are thriving in all NWT communities. This funding will support the development of a new generation of speakers through the availability of language services and instruction throughout the territory.”

—The Honourable R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Minister of Justice and Government House Leader for the Northwest Territories

“Coming from the Northwest Territories, I know how much of a difference this funding will make to Indigenous communities. Having access to resources to help revitalize and strengthen Indigenous languages is essential to supporting participants in learning Indigenous languages and maintaining their proficiency in them. I am pleased to see that this funding will benefit communities across the Northwest Territories, which will make a concrete difference to our region.”

—Michael V. McLeod, Member of Parliament (Northwest Territories)

Quick facts

  • With Budget 2019, and Budget 2021 Canada has provided historic investments of $608.7 million and $117.7 million in ongoing funding to support the community‑based efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages.
  • The Indigenous Languages Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. Canadian Heritage is working with Indigenous partners and organizations to implement the Act and develop a new approach to investing in Indigenous languages.
  • The Northwest Territories has nine official Indigenous languages: Chipewyan (Dëne Sųłıné), Cree (nēhiyawēwin), Gwich’in (Dinjii Zhu’ Ginjik), Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey (Dene Kedǝ), South Slavey (Dene Zhatıé) and Tłı̨chǫ.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

Press Secretary
Government of the Northwest Territories