First Nations youth bring vitality to languages: Regional Health Survey

OTTAWA, June 19, 2012 /CNW/ - According to the CBC, "Statistics Canada says only three aboriginal languages in Canada — Cree, Ojibwa and Inuktitut — remain viable." That may be so, but apparently not if First Nations youth on-reserves and in northern communities right across Canada have anything to say about it.

According to the latest national report of the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS), 86% of youth (12 to 17 years old) living in nearly every First Nation and northern community felt that learning their own Indigenous language was "very important" or "somewhat important."

In fact, more than half (56.3%) of First Nations youth across Canada reported speaking or understanding their own languages.

RHS is produced by the First Nations Information Governance Centre, an Ottawa-based non-governmental organization. The RHS findings indicate that while pressures continue to threaten First Nations languages, youth on-reserve and in northern communities are committed to learning their own languages.

More than one-third of First Nations youth spoke their own languages sometime during each day.

"Our survey shows that First Nations youth seem to have a hunger for, a longing to learn their own languages," says Jane Gray. She's the National Projects Manager for the First Nations Regional Health Survey, or RHS.

"More than 4 of every 5 First Nations youth feel that learning their own First Nations languages is either 'very important' or 'somewhat important' to themselves and to their First Nation," says Gray.

"Young people have been telling us this for some time now at meetings and gatherings. Our Health survey shows that this isn't just wishful thinking. It's a reality, and it's being driven by those First Nations youth."

SOURCE The First Nations Information Governance Centre

For further information:

Gail McDonald
FNIGC National Operations Manager
613-733-1916  ext 101

For the full report, go to the "Downloads" page at:

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The First Nations Information Governance Centre

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