Culture & Language
For thousands of years the First Peoples of British Columbia have valued their cultures – cultures that include songs, stories, ceremonies, values, beliefs, ways of life and languages. Today's Indigenous people continue the tradition of teaching and sharing their language and traditions to pass their knowledge on to future generations.
There are over 34 First Nation languages and 61 dialects in British Columbia, representing 60 per cent of all First Nations languages in Canada. Most of these languages are critically endangered.
Other Indigenous languages are spoken in British Columbia, including Michif, the language of the Métis people of Canada, as well as languages indigenous to other parts of Canada, such as Cree.
First Peoples' Cultural Council
The First Peoples' Cultural Council, previously known as First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council, is a First Nations-run Crown Corporation established in 1990 by the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Act. It is mandated to support the revitalization of Indigenous language, arts and culture in British Columbia. It provides funding and resources to communities, monitors the status of First Nations languages and develops policy recommendations for First Nations leadership and government.
The First Peoples' Cultural Council is mandated to:
- Preserve, restore and revitalize First Nations heritage, language, arts and culture
- Increase understanding and sharing of knowledge, within both the First Nations and non-First Nations communities
- Heighten the appreciation and acceptance of the wealth of the cultural diversity among all British Columbians
- Provide funding to B.C. First Nations for arts, cultural and language programs
- Create new programs, resources and services related to First Nations heritage, language, arts and culture
- Advise government on the preservation and fostering of First Nations heritage, arts, languages and culture
- Work in partnership with First Nations communities to revitalize and archive First Nations cultures and languages and restore literacy and fluency in First Nation languages