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Northwest Territories

Celebrate the diverse Indigenous languages of the NWT this month

February is Indigenous Language Month in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) encourages residents to celebrate the indigenous languages ​​of the NWT and take time this month to learn about and use them with pride.

Indigenous languages ​​are the basis of identity, pride and community within the NWT. To encourage revival, indigenous languages ​​need to be spoken in households and communities so that intergenerational transmission can be restored.

This month everyone can empower and support the revival of the indigenous language by:

  • Learn simple phrases like “hello”, “my name is” and “thank you” in the indigenous language(s) of your region.
  • Sharing the indigenous language at home, work, school and in your community.
  • Learn the indigenous place names of mountains, lakes, rivers and communities near you.
  • Connecting with indigenous languages ​​through radio, podcasts, books, songs, video games, television and more.

Celebrating language learners, speakers and language programs in your community,

Indigenous Language Month is a step forward every Canadian can take on the journey to reconciliation and reclamation.

Watch the Indigenous Language Month video to learn how each of us can empower and support Indigenous Language Revitalization.


“Our nine official indigenous languages ​​shape our identity as northerners and reflect our unique diversity. This country and its people are rich in culture, heritage and tradition. It is our responsibility to preserve and revitalize these languages ​​through celebration and practice.”

RJ Simpson, Minister for Education, Culture and Employment

Fast Facts

  • Join the NWT’s celebration of Indigenous Languages ​​online: use the hashtag #IndigenousLanguagesMonth to stay connected on social media and check out our free downloadable resources to help you celebrate Indigenous Month to introduce languages.
  • Find ideas for community events and activities: https://www.ece.gov.nt.ca/en/ILM-toolkit
  • The NWT is the only political region in Canada to recognize 11 official languages. Of these languages, nine are indigenous: Dëne Sųłıné Yatıé (Chipewyan), nēhiyawēwin (Cree), Dinjii Zhu’ Ginjik (Gwich’in), Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, Dene Kǝdǝ́ (North Slave), Dene Zhatıé (South Slave), and Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̫ Yatıı̫ (Tłı̨chǫ).
  • National Aboriginal Languages ​​Day was first celebrated on 31 March 1993. Betty Harnum, NWT’s first language officer, asked the First Nations Congregation (AFN) to dedicate more than a day to the importance of language and culture in our lives. The AFN agreed and declared the entire month of March Aboriginal Languages ​​Month.
  • In 2018, following the recommendation of the official language authorities, February was declared the new month of indigenous languages ​​in the NWT.
  • The NWT Indigenous Languages ​​Action Plan provides the GNWT with priorities for the protection and revitalization of indigenous languages.

Similar links

For media inquiries please contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Public Affairs and Communication

Ministry of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories

[email protected]

867-767-9352 ext 71073

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