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Plurilinguisme et pluriculturalisme

Jane Koustas
Denise Merkle
Gillian Lane-Mercier

8. Indigenizing Language Policy in Canada: Redressing Racial Hierarchies

Donna Patrick

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This chapter addresses what is at stake linguistically and politically in Canada for First Nations, Inuit and Metis in the context of language policy, revitalization and maintenance. The context in question is not only one of an officially bilingual country, where French and English-language rights, along with official multiculturalism, have become entrenched both legally and institutionally. Furthermore, it is one in which processes of assimilation, dispossession and displacement of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples have also been entrenched, through the Indian Act (enacted in 1876, and still in place with subsequent revisions) and more than a century of residential schooling, the effects of which are still being felt even though the last school closed in 1996.1

As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) – set up as part of the response to litigation regarding the residential school legacy – came to a close in June 2015, the issues of Indigenous language loss, r...


Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. Her research interests are in linguistic anthropology and include political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of language use; language rights and policy; Indigenous languages and peoples in Canada and the Arctic; and critical literacies. Patrick’s most recent work has involved SSHRC-funded participatory action research with urban Inuit, exploring Inuit identities, language, and the construction of place in Ottawa and Montreal.

© Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2016

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