British Columbia is home to 203 First Nations communities and an amazing diversity of Indigenous languages; approximately 60% of the First Nations languages of Canada are spoken in B.C. You can access indexes of all the languages, First Nations and Community Champions through the top navigation on all pages of this website.
The First Peoples Language Map of British Columbia was initiated by First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council (FPHLCC) in 2005 with funding from the BC Ministry of Education. FPHLCC staff member and linguist, Sarah Kell, started the language map with contemporary language group boundaries provided by the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Adjustments were made to the language group boundaries based on Indian reserve locations and best available knowledge of language spoken by First Nations affiliated with reserve lands. Additional historical information on territories of sleeping languages was prepared for the Handbook of North American Indians (1996, revised 1999) under the supervision of Dr. Ives Goddard, and is reproduced with permission of the Smithsonian Institution. Additional map data was added from a number of sources. The online map was created by Global CADD Systems.
In 2008, Alex Wadsworth and Towagh Behr led the expansion of the online map into a website with content on the languages, First Nations and Community Champions. The development of the web-based Drupal content management system was completed by Patrick Hayes of MapsWest. To build content for the website, Towagh completed a short series of interviews with fluent speakers from around the province. Alex, Towagh and Patrick also turned the FPHLCC Language Needs Assessments into online surveys that continue to populate the website with current statistics on language fluency and learning.