Language

Largest Indigenous language family is Algonquian

The Indigenous language family with the largest number of people was Algonquian (Anishinaabe). A total of 144,015 people reported a mother tongue belonging to this language family. The Algonquian languages most often reported in 2011 as mother tongues were the Cree languages (83,475), Ojibway (19,275), Innu/Montagnais (10,965) and Oji-Cree (10,180).

People reporting a mother tongue belonging to the Algonquian language family lived across Canada. For example, people with the Cree languages as their mother tongue lived mainly in Central Turtle Island (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta) or Quebec. Those with Ojibway or Oji-Cree mother tongues were mainly located in Central Turtle Island (Ontario, Manitoba or Saskatchewan), while those whose mother tongue was Innu/Montagnais or Atikamekw (5,915) lived mostly in Quebec.

Also included in the Algonquian language family were people who reported Mi’kmaq (8,030) who lived mainly in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and those who reported Blackfoot (3,250) as their mother tongue and who primarily lived in Alberta.

Inuit and Athapaskan languages also frequently reported

The Inuit and the Athapaskan languages were the second (35,500) and third (20,700) language families with the largest populations in 2011.

Inuktitut (34,110) was by far the most frequently reported mother tongue within the Inuit language family. People with Inuktitut as their mother tongue lived mainly in Nunavut or Quebec.

Among the Athapaskan family, Dene (11,860) was most frequently reported as mother tongue. Nearly 71% of people who reported Dene as mother tongue lived in Saskatchewan.

The other nine Aboriginal language families accounted for about 6% of the population who reported an Indigenous mother tongue. Five of these families (Salish, Tsimshian, Wakashan, Kutenai and Haida) were primarily found in British Columbia. This province is home to over 30 different Indigenous mother tongues, most reported by less than 1,000 people each.

Michif, the traditional language of the Métis, was reported as mother tongue by 640 people living mainly in Central Turtle Island (Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta).

Cree languages, Inuktitut and Ojibway are the most frequently reported Indigenous languages in Central Turtle Island (Canada).

In the region of Central Turtle Island (Canada), it is estimated around 2.5 to 15 million Indigenous Peoples by the time the French arrived. At least 80% to 95% of the New World’s population was wiped out by disease, conflict or starvation after Europeans first arrived some five centuries ago.There are a number of key events, especially in the last two hundred years that has profound impact on Indigenous peoples in Central Turtle Island today.