How Indigenous people are promoting and learning their languages

This week on Unreserved, we hear from language learners across Turtle Island who are helping make their language more accessible to people who want to learn.
This week on Unreserved, how Indigenous people are maintaining their language - using things like the Inuvialuktun playing cards that double as a language matching game above - and helping make it more accessible to others. (Submitted by the Inuvialuit Communications Society)

This episode originally aired on May 16, 2021.

The desire to preserve Indigenous languages is growing — and as more Indigenous people learn their languages, they are realizing just how challenging it can be.

This week on Unreserved, we hear from language learners across Turtle Island who are promoting their language and helping make it more accessible to people who want to learn.

One of the best ways to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. That's why Emmaline Beauchamp and her husband decided to keep English out of their house as they raise their two children exclusively in Anishinaabemowin. 

Peter-Lucas Jones and Keoni Mahelona of Te Hiku Media in New Zealand explain how they're digitizing hundreds of hours of Maori speakers sharing traditional language and stories. And why they're intent on keeping that data away from companies who would sell it for profit. 

Preserving one language is hard enough, but what about three? Tamara Voudrach from the Inuvialuit Communications Society, with the help of some fluent speakers, made playing cards that double as a matching game to help language learners practice Inuvialuktun in all three dialects.

Cheyenne Cunningham has been piecing together the down-river dialect of hən̓q̓əmín̓əm̓ ever since she was seven years old. Her husband wanted to name his company using a word in the language, but when she went to register the name, she found out B.C.'s registry doesn't permit characters that are not part of the Roman alphabet. CBC's Angela Sterritt brings us that story. 

Kaapittiaq means good coffee in Inuinnaqtun, a dialect of Inuktitut that is spoken in western Nunavut. Pamela Gross and the Kitikmeot Society created their own coffee company with that name to help promote the language and support language and cultural programs.

This week's playlist:

Aasiva. (Courtesy of Aakuluk Music)

Aasiva — Piqatiikka

Fawn Wood — Kakike