The Government of Canada supports Indigenous languages in Nova Scotia through the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey

Membertou First Nation, unceded traditional Mi’kmaq territory – July 13, 2021

Language is at the heart of cultural identity; it shapes who we are and our perspectives. Languages are integral to Indigenous cultures, self-identity and well-being. They carry stories, the memory of those who came before us, and the promise that we hold for those who come after us. They convey wisdom and traditions from elders to youth, from one generation to the next. The Government of Canada understands that we have a key role in protecting and supporting the revitalization of Indigenous languages.

Yesterday, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, along with members from the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Board of Directors, announced $513,492 in federal funding for the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages and cultures by increasing access to language instruction and language resources suited to the needs and realities of Mi’kmaw First Nations.

Starting in 2021–22, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey will now act as the third-party delivery administrator of the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program for the province of Nova Scotia. Transferring control back to Indigenous partners is the best way to improve the realities of Indigenous educators, families and youth. Today’s announcement is in line with the Government of Canada’s commitment to transfer control of service delivery back to Indigenous peoples and will empower and inspire others to explore similar opportunities.

As part of this new role, the organization will undertake the call for proposals process in a fair, open and transparent manner, assess applications, make funding recommendations, and flow funding to successful applicants. Individual funding amounts are being determined, but work through Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey is underway. Additional details will be forthcoming.

Budget 2021 provides $275 million over five years and $2 million per year ongoing for Canadian Heritage to support Indigenous languages. This funding is in addition to funding announced in Budget 2019, which allocated $333.7 million over five years and $115.7 million ongoing, doubling the total funding amount over the next three years for various initiatives such as languages and culture camps, mentor-apprentice programs, and the development of Indigenous languages resources and documentation.

“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 Nova Scotia, and throughout Canada, is and will remain a priority for me, for our government and for all Canadians.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“It is difficult to imagine a right more basic than the right to be immersed and surrounded by one’s own language. Language is at the heart of cultural identity, shaping who we are by connecting us to our families, communities and history. This announcement with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey ensures Indigenous partners have control over and support for the programming for their communities to preserve, strengthen and revitalize the Mi’kmaw language in the way they envision it.”

—The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services

“Indigenous languages are fundamental to Indigenous identities, cultures, spirituality and self-determination. It is critically important that we work together to support Indigenous peoples in reclaiming, revitalizing, strengthening and maintaining Indigenous languages in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. I look forward to a future where First Nations, Inuit and Métis children will grow up speaking their languages, and where this valued linguistic heritage is cherished and protected for future generations.”

—The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Support for Indigenous languages is a crucial part of reconciliation. Speaking one’s Indigenous language allows today’s Indigenous youth to view the world through the lens of their ancestors. Today’s announcement is a step towards revitalization of the Mi’kmaw language and preserving the Mi’kmaw culture moving forward.”

—Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria

“Our positive working relationship with Canada and its departments align with the agreement of 1997 respecting Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey’s sovereignty as a collective representing the education and language rights of the Mi’kmaw here in Nova Scotia. Control and delivery of the Indigenous Languages Component fund allows Mi’kmaw to identify priorities and projects to help revitalize, reclaim, and restore our beautiful L’nu language.”

—Blaire Gould, Executive Director, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey

Camille Gagné-Raynauld

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Adrienne Vaupshas

Press Secretary

Office of the Honourable Marc Miller

Minister of Indigenous Services