International Year of Indigenous Languages: Indigenous Language Resources for the Classroom


The United Nations has declared that 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

From the International Year of Indigenous Languages Website:

Languages play a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication, education, social integration and development, but also as a repository for each person’s unique identity, cultural history, traditions and memory. But despite their immense value, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

With this in mind, the United Nations declared 2019 The Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) in order to raise awareness of them, not only to benefit the people who speak these languages, but also for others to appreciate the important contribution they make to our world’s rich cultural diversity.

Over the years, Canadian Teacher Magazine has reviewed and shared many wonderful Indigenous resources to use in the classroom (find them here: Following are some new authentic Indigenous resources for use in the elementary classroom that promote Indigenous language learning and support language revitalization and traditional storytelling methods.

Dual-Language Picture Book from Orca Book Publisher: My Heart Fills With Happiness / Ni Sâkaskineh Mîyawâten Niteh Ohcih

My Heart Fills With Happiness / Ni Sâkaskineh Mîyawâten Niteh Ohcih
Written by Monique Gray Smith
Illustrated by Julie Flett
Translated by Mary Cardinal Collins
$6.95, paperback

Orca recently released a variety of Indigenous dual-language books, including My Heart Fills With Happiness / Ni Sâkaskineh Mîyawâten Niteh Ohcih, that complement their other Indigenous resources.  Find them by viewing their Indigenous resources here:

Synopsis: The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy. International speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support the wellness of Indigenous children and families, and to encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy.

Carrier Counting Book from Strong Nations Publishing: Counting in Carrier

Counting in Carrier
Written and illustrated by Cecilia John
Strong Nations Publishing
$8.50, paperback

This book is recommended for students in grades 1-3.   It is part of Strong Nations Publishing’s new Dakelh Strong Stories series, which also includes four other books in a triple-language format of English, Carrier, and French.  Find the series here:

Synopsis: Counting to ten in Carrier is like counting to ten in English. But when you count people in Carrier it is not the same at all. Can you count in any other language?

Celebrate the Revitalization of Cree Dialects and Traditional Storytelling Methods with This New Title from Portage & Main Press: Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock

Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock
Written by Dallas Hunt
Illustrated by Amanda Strong
Portage & Main Press
$19.95, hardcover

This whimsical story celebrates the revitalization of Cree dialects and traditional methods of storytelling.

Synopsis: During an unfortunate mishap, young Awâsis loses Kôhkum’s freshly baked world-famous bannock. Not knowing what to do, Awâsis seeks out a variety of other-than-human relatives willing to help. What adventures are in store for Awâsis?

The book includes a pronunciation guide and the recipe for Kôhkum’s world-famous bannock.

Dual-Language Creation Story from Acorn Press: Minegoo: the Mi’kmaw Creation Story of Prince Edward Island

Minegoo: The Mi’kmaq Creation Story of Prince Edward Island
Written and illustrated by Sandra L Dodge
Translated by Georgina Francis
Acorn Press
$13.95, paperback

This dual-language story is delivered in English and Mi’kmaq and is recommended for ages 8 and under.

Synopsis: A long time ago, the Great Spirit created all of the sky and stars but it wasn’t enough. He then made a beautiful place called Minegoo, a place so beautiful that He almost placed it amongst the stars. He decided that instead, he would place Minegoo in the most beautiful spot on earth. He summoned Kluskap and asked him to find this spot. After searching the whole world, Kluskap found the Shining Waters, the spot in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that would be home of the Mi’kmaq people created in his own image.

For more information on the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, including ways to get involved, visit:

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