Métis Languages Collaborative

The Louis Riel Institute's Métis Languages Collaborative focuses on supporting a better understanding and appreciation of Métis languages, language reclamation and revitalization and best practices in endangered language education within the Manitoba Métis Community.

Many languages spoken by the Métis are at risk because there are few fluent speakers remaining.

The Louis Riel Institute is working collaboratively with language experts, partners, and community to initiate language planning, mobilize language resources, engage in reclamation and revitalization efforts, and create relevant language programming.

What Are 'Métis Languages'?

Métis languages refers to the languages spoken in Métis Nation. Métis people historically were a polylingual people, meaning that they spoke many different languages. Among those languages includes Michif-a language that is unique to the Métis Nation. Métis people have spoken and continue to speak several varieties of Michif, including Michif-French and Michif-Cree (also known by other names). Other common languages spoken within the Métis Nation are Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota/Lakota, and Dene. The languages that Métis people speak and have spoken reflects their diverse yet distinct history, and the different social, economic, and political connections to their kin across the Métis Nation Homeland.

Michif Language Revitalization Project

As part of a pilot project in 2020, funded in part by the Government of Canada, the Louis Riel Institute launched the Michif Language Revitalization project. The project was guided by the Michif Language Revitalization (MLR) Working Circle, a collaborative working group led by Louis Riel Institute staff and supported by project consultants and community language revitalization experts from the Métis-run Prairies to Woodlands Indigenous Languages Revitalization Circle

With the goal of working closely with the community, the Louis Riel Institute reached out to language champions from the Manitoba Métis Community and their trusted allies to form a community-based advisory group known as the Michif Language Revitalization (MLR) Community Circle.

In the spring of 2021, the Louis Riel Institute hosted workshops, facilitated by language revitalization experts and initiative partners, the Prairies to Woodlands Indigenous Language Revitalization Circle for the MLR Community Circle. These workshops allowed the MLR Working Circle and MLR Community Circle to come together in the spirit of shared learning, to explore Indigenous language revitalization and to begin to develop a Métis Languages Assessment Survey. Each session was recorded by graphic notetaker, Corrina Keeling from Love Letters for Everybody, to capture some of the perspectives, shared teachings, and work that was done during the five workshops.

Métis Community Languages Assessment Survey

The Métis Languages Assessment Survey was drafted with and piloted by the MLR Community Circle. The purpose of the survey, following the completion of its development, is to collect information from the Manitoba Métis Community about their use of language/s, their relationships to the languages of their families and communities, and their interest in language learning. The results from the survey will help the Louis Riel Institute to build a strong foundation for collaborative language planning and to better understand we can support community-based initiatives in Manitoba. The Louis Riel Institute will be launching the Métis Languages Assessment Survey in 2021/22.

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