4.0 Efforts to Support Aboriginal Literacy

Many organizations are involved in supporting Aboriginal languages and literacy. We have chosen to look at what two other literacy coalitions in Canada do, what the federal government and the GNWT do, and what language communities themselves have set as their priorities.

4.1 Models from other literacy coalitions

Literacy organizations in other parts of Canada reflect the importance of Aboriginal literacy to varying degrees. Saskatchewan and Nunavut, the two organizations we will look at, are in very different situations, and have taken different approaches to supporting Aboriginal literacy.


In Saskatchewan, in the 1996 Census, out of almost 1 million people, just over 110,000 were Aboriginal (11.4%). Although non–aboriginal people are by far the majority, the Aboriginal group is the fastest growing group in Saskatchewan. In recognition of this, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network has established a Provincial Aboriginal Literacy Steering Committee to guide a two–year Aboriginal Literacy Project. It believes that Aboriginal literacy services must "… recognize and affirm the unique cultures of Native Peoples and the connections between all of creation". Not all activities are in an Aboriginal language. The project goals are:

  • To identify and share information about Aboriginal literacy programs and initiatives through the development of a directory of programs
  • To identify strengths of current approaches, gaps and areas for improvement
  • To organize and host an Aboriginal literacy gathering
  • To develop a mechanism to provide support to Aboriginal literacy programs
  • To create links between Aboriginal literacy programs and practitioners
  • To establish connections with Aboriginal initiatives at the national level
  • To develop a public awareness strategy to recognize, support and sustain the Aboriginal literacy initiative