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First Nation language library launched

National Aboriginal Language Day celebrated
Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

An extensive library featuring Yukon First Nation languages is now available on the Yukon Native Language Centre’s website and YouTube channel.

The Council of Yukon First Nations and the Native language centre marked National Aboriginal Language Day on March 31 with the launch of the digital resources.

The project was funded as an Indigenous Language Technology initiative of the National Research Council of Canada.

The videos were produced as part of a Yukon First Nations languages documentation and preservation initiative over a two-year period.

“Today is a day to publicly recognize the importance of our Yukon First Nations languages,” CYFN Grand Chief Peter Johnston said. “This project supports the YNLC’s mandate to create fluent speakers.”

Under the initiative, Yukon First Nations received support to build language documentation capacity through skills and training in technology that allowed for the creation of digital recordings.

Participating First Nations received support to create and preserve digital video recording of Elders speaking Yukon First Nation languages, which include Southern Tutchone, Tagish, Northern Tutchone, Kaska, Tlingit, Hän, Gwich’in, and Upper Tanana.

The project saw 79 videos — 1,400 minutes of footage in total — produced featuring the eight languages in the territory.

It’s expected the library “will be instrumental in promoting language learning, and will contribute to the creation of language learning resources for years to come,” CYFN said in a statement. “In addition, the videos carry immeasurable cultural knowledge, including legends and stories.”

The library of videos is available at

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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