Languages contain and reflect unique and distinctive ways of understanding and relating to the world around us, and they are central to understanding expressions of Indigenous identity and community. In British Columbia, there are 34 distinct and diverse languages spoken across the province as well as the Métis languages Michif and Chinook jargon. To see the distribution of languages, please see the Museum of Anthropology BC First Nations Languages map [PDF](version 4, 2011).
Great harm was caused to Indigenous languages by the assimilative policies of residential schooling and other forms of colonialism. Decades of damaging policies resulted in a significant decline in speakers of many Indigenous languages, to the point that many languages in Canada currently have no living fluent speakers. Today many Indigenous communities are working to revitalize their languages. First Voices through the First Peoples’ Cultural Council supports language revitalization through an online archive and teaching resource.