Over time, colonialism attempted to stamp out Indigenous culture in Canada, resulting in dwindling numbers or extinction of many Indigenous languages. Of the over 60 Indigenous languages in Canada, many of them have very few speakers left, or are considered on the verge of extinction.
Because of this, merely speaking an Indigenous language can be seen as a political act.
Can you speak your traditional language?
The Blackfoot Confederacy, or Niitsitapi, consists of the Siksika, Kainai (Blood) and Piikani people, who traditionally live in the intersections of Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Montana. Blackfoot is an Algonquian language spoken by the Niitsitapi, which they call niitsi’powahsin.
The following are some resources to help you learn the Blackfoot language or improve your skills:
Blackfoot Online Dictionary: This website contains English → Blackfoot and Blackfoot → English dictionaries; type in the word you want to translate in either language, and the dictionary shows its translation and connected root words.
The Blackfoot Digital Library allows you to browse Blackfoot phraseology by category and explore audio and video archives in the Blackfoot Language. Listen to Blackfoot storytellers and learn more about the culture’s history.
Native Languages has a variety of resources to help you learn the Blackfoot language, including a variety of vocabulary worksheets, grammar resources, literature collections and learning kits.
Being able to hear people speak the language can help you pick up on pronunciation and the nuances of the language. Blackfoot Language Lessons YouTube Channel has vocabulary lessons and conversational tools around different themes.
Blackfoot Pronunciation and Spelling/Orthography Guide: Native Languages also has this guide to help you learn the pronunciation, spelling and grammar structures of the language.
Learning the Blackfoot Language Facebook Page: This page posts articles, resources and services related to learning the Blackfoot language. Additionally, they post words and phrasings to help you understand sentence structure and different verb tenses.
These Blackfoot Language Resources are currently under construction, but this website features loads of handy resources like learning kits, grammar tools and stories told in Blackfoot.
Learn Blackfoot in the classroom:
Do you know, or have you used, any other resources to learn Blackfoot? Let us know in the comments!