Prime Minister Trudeau announced on December 6, 2016, that the federal government will soon be introducing legislation to support the preservation, protection and revitalization of Indigenous languages including Michif. Michif is the language of Métis people once spoken all across the Métis homeland. Like most Indigenous languages, the number of Michif speakers declined due to the colonization process that attempted to stamp out the use of languages other than English and French.

“Michif is an important part of our Métis heritage and culture,” stated Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Margaret Froh, “we are very pleased that the government is moving forward on helping to restore Indigenous languages like Michif; in keeping with the Calls to Action in the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report.”

The Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Melanie Joly, has indicated that developing the legislation will begin with a process of engaging Métis, First Nation, Inuit governments to draft an Indigenous Languages Act. The Ministry of Canadian Heritage has stated that the goal of this legislation will be to ensure the preservation, protection, and revitalization of Indigenous languages with the full input and collaboration of Indigenous peoples.

The Métis Nation of Ontario maintains a Michif Language Speaker group that has developed resources for schools and on-line to help preserve the Ontario dialect of Michif and teach young Métis their language. “We fully expect our Michif Language Speakers will be part of the development of the Indigenous Languages Act,” explained MNO Chair and Chair of the Michif Language Speakers Group France Picotte.

“The proposed Indigenous Languages Act has great potential to revitalize all Indigenous languages and as Métis we are especially pleased that Michif will be part of this revitalization process. We are very grateful to our ancestors who preserved Michif and to our Michif speakers today who will now have the opportunity to make our language flourish again,” concluded President Froh.

Posted: December 8, 2016