There is common misconception that BC First Nations are all the same.
When you take a look at this map of BC First Nations Language Families, that the UBC Museum of Anthropology produced and gave us permission to reproduce for use in our training efforts, you can quickly see just how diverse they are.
7 Major Language Families broken up into over 30 different dialects.
The diversity of languages and dialects in just one province supports our mantra that diversity must be recognized and respected. Some important things to take into consideration when looking at this map include:
- the languages are as different as Spanish is to Japanese
- there can be no blanket solution when working with BC First Nations
- what works in one place will not work in another
- who makes decisions in place won't be who makes them in another
- we can find rank or hierarchy societies and band equalatarian societies
- this is just languages, in fact there are over 200 bands
- they don't all belong to the Assembly of First Nations or Union of BC Indian Chiefs
- they are not afraid to support each other
- they are not afraid to fight each other
- they are not afraind to not care what the others are doing
- they can have historic relationships that continue to this day
- many don't have treaties
There you have it. That's just a quick snapshot of BC First Nations Language Families. If you are planning on working with communities you may want to download some of our free resources to help you be more effective.
Here's a related article you might find interesting:
- What You Need to Know About Indigenous Language Revitalization
- Chinook Jargon: The First Language of Trade
On the subject of language, here's a free copy of our eBook: Indigenous Peoples: A Guide to Terminology. Click the image to grab your copy.