B.C. First Nations Language Authorities

The British Columbia Teachers’ Council can recognize a First Nations Language Authority recommended to it by another body, such as a tribal council or nation. Once established, the language authorities may recommend proficient speakers of their language for a First Nations Language Certificate. This allows the individuals to teach in British Columbia schools while holding valid British Columbia certification. This decision was a response to encourage and assist proficient speakers to work in the schools and pass the language on to new generations. 


Last updated: June 9, 2021

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How to Establish a First Nations Language Authority

There are now more than 30 language authorities in British Columbia. As there can only be one authority for each language, please review the list of language authorities to determine whether an authority already exists for your language. If there is an established authority, direct speakers of your language to the appropriate language coordinator.

If no language authority exists for your language, one will need to be established.

Steps to Establishing a Language Authority

  1. Pass a resolution at a tribal council meeting establishing the language authority for your language
  2. Request that your language authority be recognized by emailing an application letter to the Chairperson of the BC Teachers’ Council at BCTC@gov.bc.ca

This letter must include:

  • A copy of the Tribal Council resolution designating the Language Authority (or a request from another body acceptable to the BC Teachers’ Council designating a particular Language Authority)
  • Contact information including an official mailing address, email address, and telephone number for the Language Authority
  • The name of a coordinator (contact person) with whom the BC Teachers’ Council and the Ministry of Education can interact about applications for the First Nations Language Certificate
  • Original signatures of persons who will sign the individual recommendation for the First Nations Language Certificate. (Please include clear printed names and ancestral First Nations names, if any). These are the people who will decide whether an applicant is fluent in the language and culture

Download a sample application letter (DOCX)

Once the BC Teachers’ Council has received this information, it may recognize the recommended language authority and add the name of the language authority to the list of accepted languages in the Certification Standards.

Please contact the BC Teachers’ Council for assistance before beginning the process of applying for a language authority.


Certifying First Nations Language Teachers

Once your language authority is recognized by the BC Teachers’ Council, the language authority will play an important role in the certification of First Nations language and culture teachers in British Columbia by testifying to an individual applicant’s fluency in a language or dialect and culture. The language authority may be asked to assist the applicant in putting together an application for certification. It requires the applicant to complete information about their background and experience, and it requires the language authority to complete a form attesting to the person’s proficiency. 


First Nations Language Authorities B.C.

The language authorities listed are recognized by the Ministry of Education for certification purposes
First Nations Language Authority Language Language
Coordinator
Address/Tel./Fax/Email
Coast Salish Language Authority Coast Salish  

First Nations Education
School District 72 (Campbell
River)
425 Pinecrest Rd.
Campbell River, BC V9W 3P2

T: (250) 830-2330
F: (250) 830-2329

Dzahge Nodesidē/Tahltan
Language and Culture Council
Tāłtān Dah Judy Thompson
Tahltan Language
and Culture Lead

Dzahge Nodesidē/Tahltan Language and Culture Council 
3333 University Way
Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9

T: (250) 960-5766
E: 
judithcthompson@gmail.com

Fort Nelson First Nation Language Authority Dene Kathi Dickie

Fort Nelson First Nation
Language Authority
2026 Kennay-Yah Road
RR1 Mile 295 Alaska Hwy
Fort Nelson, BC V0C 1R0

T: (250) 774-7257
F: (250) 774-7260
E: kathi.dickie@fnnation.ca

Gitxsan Language Authority Gitxsanimx Sadie Harris

Gitxsan Language Authority
Box 155
Hazelton, BC V0J 1Y0

T: (250) 842-6222
F: (250) 842-6288
E: sharris@cmsd.bc.ca

Heiltsuk Language Authority Heiltsuk Elizabeth Brown

Bella Bella Community School Society
General Delivery 
Waglisla, BC V0T 1Z0

T: (250) 957-2396
F: (250) 957-2455

Hul’q’umi’num’ Language and Culture Society Hul’q’umi’num’ Language (Vancouver Island Dialect) Sally Hart (Penelakut)

Hul’q’umi’num’ Language and Culture Society
1093 Nagle St.  
Duncan, BC V9L 2E6 

E: salish@island.net

Huu-ay-aht Language Authority Huu-ay-aht Stella M. Peters

Huu-ay-aht (Ohiaht) First
Nations
P.O. Box 70
Bamfield, BC V0R 1B0

T: (250) 728-3414
F: (250) 728-1222
E: 
huuayaht@island.net

Ktunaxa Language Authority Ktunaxa Don Maki, Director
of Traditional
Knowledge and
Language

Ktunaxa Language Authority 
7468 Mission Road
Cranbrook, BC V1C 7E5

T: (250) 417-4001
F: (250) 489-5760
E: 
dmaki@ktunaxa.org

Kwakwala Ni'Nogad Language
Authority
Kwakwala Colleen M.
Hemphill;
Mary Hunt

Kwakwala Ni'Nogad Language Authority 
P.O. Box 2477 
Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0 

T: (250) 949-9433
F: (250) 949-9677

Liq'wala/Kwakwala Language
Authority
Liq'wala/Kwakwala

Debra Martel, District Principal, Indigenous Education

Karen Giesbrecht, Secretary, Indigenous Education

Liq'wala/Kwakwala Language
Authority
School District 72 (Campbell
River)
425 Pinecrest Rd.
Campbell River, BC V9W 3P2

T: (250) 830-2328
E: 
debra.martel@sd72.bc.ca
T: (250) 923-4902
E: 
karen.giesbrecht@sd72.bc.ca

Musqueam Language Authority


 
Musqueam Victor Guerin,
Language
Coordinator

Musqueam Indian Band
6735 Salish Dr.
Vancouver, BC V6N 4C4

T: (604) 263-3261
F: (604) 263-4212
E: vguerin@musqueam.bc.ca

Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council Nlaka’pamux Amy Charlie,
Coordinator

Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council
Box 430
Lytton, BC V0K 1Z0

T: (250) 455-2711
F: (250) 455-2565
E: nlakapumux@nntc.ca

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for Nuu-chah-nulth Language Authority

 
Nuu-chah-nulth Francis Frank,
Coordinator

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
PO Box 1383
Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7M2

T: (250) 724-5757
F: (250) 723-0463
E: francisf@nuuchahnulth.org
Nuxalk Nation Council Nuxalk Lela Walkus,
Coordinator

Nuxalk Nation Council
School District 49 (Central Coast)
Bag 130
Hagensborg, BC V0T 1H0

T: (250) 982-2691
F: (250) 982-2319
Okanagan Language Association Okanagan Jeannette Armstrong,
Executive Director

Okanagan Language Association c/o En'owkin Centre 
Green Mountain Rd., Lot 45 
RR #2, Site 50, Comp. 8 
Penticton, BC V2A 6J7

T: (250) 493-718 
F: (250) 493-5302
E: enowkin@vip.net

Old Massett Language Authority Old Massett Haida Sharon Matthews,
Haida Language &
Culture Coordinator

Old Massett Village Council
P.O. Box 6
Massett, BC V0T 1M0

T: (250) 626-5110
F: (250) 626-5630
E: haidalan@island.net
Quw’utsun Syuw’entst Lelum’ Language Authority Hul’qumi’num’
(Cowichan Dialect)
 
Chuck Seymour
Coordinator

Cowichan Tribes
Quw'utsun Syuw'entst Lelum'
5744 Allenby Road
Duncan, BC V9L 5J1 

T: (250) 715-1022
F: (250) 715-1023

S'malgyax T'simshian Language
Authority
S'malgyax T'simshian Bernice Bolton

S'malgyax T'simshian Language Authority 
3529 Kalum Road W 
Terrace, BC V8G 0C8 

T: (250) 638-8640
F: (250) 615-2833
E: 
cguno@kitsumkalum.bc.ca

Scw'exmx Language Authority
 
Scw'exmx dialect of
Nle'kepmxcin

 
Mandy Na'zinek
Jimmie

Scw'exmx Language Authority Nicola Tribal Association 
P.O. Box 188 
Merritt, BC V0K 2B0

T: (250) 378-4235
F: (250) 378-9119

Secwépemc Language Authority Secwépemc Jessica Arnouse &
Kathy Manuel,
Language
Coordinators

Secwepemc Cultural Education Society 
274A Halston Connector Road 
Kamloops, BC V2H 1J9 

T: 778-471-5789
F: 778-471-5792
E: 
language@secwepemc.org

Saanich Language Authority Sencoten Curtis Olsen,
Coordinator

Saanich Language Authority 
Box 368 
7449 West Saanich Road 
Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1R3 

T: (250) 652-2214 x223
F: (250) 652-6929
E: 
c.olsen@sisb.shawbiz.ca

Skidegate Haida Language
Authority
Skidegate dialects of
Haida language
Diane Brown

Skidegate Haida Language Authority 
165 Third Avenue 
Skidegate, BC V0T 1S1

T: (250) 559-4436
T: (250) 559-4496
F: (250) 559-8247

Snuneymux First Nations Language Authority
 
Hul'qumi'num
(Snuneymux
Dialect)
Nancy Seward

Snuneymux First Nation 
668 Centre Street 
Nanaimo, BC V9R 4Z4 

T: (250) 740-2300
F: (250) 753-3492

Spi7uy Sqweqwluts Language & Culture Society Secwepemctsin Cody William

Northern Shuswap Tribal Council 
17 South 1st Ave 
Williams Lake, BC V2G 1H4

T: (250) 392-7361
F: (250) 392-6158
E: language@
northernshuswaplanguage.com

Sto:lo Nation Language Authority


 
Halq'emeylem Joe Hall
Executive Director

Sto:lo Nation
Bldg. #1, 7201 Vedder Road
Chilliwack, BC V2R 4G5 

T: (604) 858-3366
F: (604) 824-5226

Treaty 8 Tribal Association Dane-zaa Language Authority Dane-zaa Shona Nelson

Treaty 8 Tribal Association
10233 100th Ave
Fort St. John, BC V1J 1Y8   

T: (250) 785-0612
F: (250) 785-2021
E: 
snelson@treaty8.bc.ca

Ts'msyeen Sm'algyax Language Authority Ts'msyeen Sm'algyax Debbie Leighton-
Stephens,
Chair

Ts'msyeen Sm'algyax Authority
317 9th Ave W
Prince Rupert, BC V8J 2S6 

T: (250) 627-1536, ext 222
F: (250) 627-1443

Tsilhqot'in Language Authority Tsilhqot'in J. Randolph Radney, Co-Manager of Adult Education and Language Programs

Tsilhqot'in National Government
253 4th Ave N
Williams Lake, BC V2G 4T4

T: (250) 392-3918
F: (250) 398-5798
Ulkatcho Language Authority Carrier Lewis Budgell

Ulkatcho Language Authority 
P.O. Box 3430 
Anahim Lake, BC V0L 1C0

Upper St'át'imc Language and
Culture Authority
St'át'imc Marilyn Napoleon &
Linda Redan

Upper St'át'imc Language and Culture Authority
P.O. Box 1420
Lillooet, BC V0K 1V0 

T: (250) 256-7523
F: (250) 256-7119
E: 
uslces@yahoo.ca

Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga'a
Language Authority Committee

 

Nisga'a

Deanna Nyce,
Chief Executive
Officer

Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga'a Language Authority Committee
3001 Ts’oohl Ts’ap Avenue
PO Box 70
Gitwinksihlkw, BC V0J 3T0 

T: (250) 633-2292
F: (250) 633-2463

Wuikala’ Language Authority Wuikinuxv Terry Reid

Wuikala’ Language Authority
Box 3500
Port Hardy BC V0N 2P0

T: (250) 949-8625
F: (250) 949-7105
E: nuwaqawa@gmail.com
Yinka Dene Language Institute

Athabascan

Marlene Erickson,
Director

Yinka Dene Language Institute
646 Stoney Creek Road
Vanderhoof, BC V0J 3A1

T: (250) 562-2131, ext 5460
E: 
erickson@cnc.bc.ca