“Mi'gmaq, an Algonkian language of northeastern North America, is one of nearly 50 surviving Indigenous languages in Canada that are usually not considered to be viable into the next century. Only Inuktitut, Cree, and Ojibwe presently have enough younger speakers to provide a critical mass for long-term survival. In one Mi'gmaq community, however, a new way of passing on the language to adults who do not already speak it is rekindling new hope for the language.
“This paper discusses the contribution of school-based mother-tongue literacy to the maintenance and renewal of endangered languages, with Navajo as the case in point. Although Navajo claims the most speakers among U.S. indigenous languages, the absolute number and relative proportion of Navajo speakers have declined drastically in the last 30 years. Language usage varies across the Navajo Reservation, depending on individual community histories and contact with English. English dominates the print environment, although other forces reinforce the primacy of oral Navajo.
“Discusses the current endangered state of Canada's indigenous languages and the culpability of church and state in this situation. Presents legal and moral reasons why the Government of Canada should enact legislation to protect and revitalize Aboriginal languages. Offers examples of similar legislation enacted in the Northwest Territories and other countries. Contains 18 references and additional bibliography.”