First Nations’ Languages and Territories of BC

There are over 203 First Nations communities in BC which form the main First Nations language groups. There are 6 main language families; Algonquian, Dene (Athabaskan), Wakashan, Salishan (Salish), Tsimshianic, and Language Isolates that are not related to any other (Ktunaxa and Xaad kil / Xaaydaa Kil).

The First Peoples Cultural Council (http://www.fpcc.ca/Default.aspx) is an organization that supports B.C. First Nations communities to maintain, preserve and restore their languages by providing funding, training and capacity building, and advocacy for language immersion, collaboration, planning, language and culture, and archiving programs. They offer a variety of important community information and resources such as their First Peoples’ Language Map of BC (http://maps.fpcc.ca/) which appears below with a close up on Vancouver Island.

Important notes:

  • Approximately 60% of the First Nations languages of Canada are spoken in BC.
  • BC is home to about one third of all First Nations in Canada.
  • First Nations in BC have rich and varied cultures, histories, languages and traditions.
  • Most if not all Nations shared boundaries and territory; therefore First Nations’ land claims exceed the BC provincial land mass.
  • Most BC First Nations did not sign treaties in the past; and many of those that did thought they were signing peace treaties that did not involve the exchange and/or sale of land.
Close Up of First Peoples' Language Map of BC.

Close Up of First Peoples’ Language Map of BC.