Home > Uncategorized > Webinar: Indigenous Languages – Determining public health outcomes in Canada

December 2018 | Uncategorized

A webinar hosted by the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH) in partnership with the Ontario Network of CAPC/CPNP Projects.

Webinar Description

In celebration of the United Nations 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019), and in anticipation of Canada’s National First Nations, Inuit and Métis Languages Act, which is set come into effect in 2019 in keeping with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action #14, language advocates Dr. Lorena Fontaine and Ms. Aluki Kotierk will provide an overview of the current state of Indigenous languages in Canada. They will critically discuss why and how Indigenous languages need to be understood as intersecting with other determinants of Indigenous peoples’ health. Specifically, they will examine two key areas:

  1. access to culturally-relevant, language-based education and
  2. access to language-based health care services.

Finally, they will provide some examples of how Indigenous concepts of healing and well-being, knowledge systems, and worldviews hinge upon Indigenous language use and revitalization.

Date and Time:
Thursday January 17th, 2019
10:00 am – 11:30 am PST
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST

Learning Objectives

At the end of this webinar, participants will:

  • Learn about the current state and crisis of Indigenous language use in Canada and how this impacts other Indigenous determinants of health and well-being.
  • Understand the potential impacts of the National First Nations, Inuit and Métis Languages Act and how it may be a tool to promote, protect and preserve Indigenous languages.
  • Recognize the intersectionality of Indigenous language use, protection, and revitalization with other determinants of health.


Dr. Lorena Sekwan Fontaine (LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D) is Cree-Anishinabe from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, Canada. She is the Indigenous Academic Lead at the University of Winnipeg and is working on implementing Indigenous language revitalization. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies. She has spoken nationally and internationally and has authored articles on residential school issues and Indigenous language rights in Canada. Her most recent publication “Our Languages are Sacred: Indigenous Language Rights in Canada” is contained in a collection of essays that reflects the recommendations of Indigenous legal scholars and policy leaders on how Canada can braid together a new legal framework through the implementation of UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Her PhD research was presented in a CBC documentary entitled “Undoing Linguicide” which was awarded the 2017 RTDNA Adrienne Clarkson Award for Diversity, Radio and Network. She has also worked with the Assembly of First Nations as an advisor on Aboriginal languages for a number of years.

 Aluki Kotierk was sworn in as the 8th President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated on December 13, 2016. During her campaign, Aluki focussed on empowerment, Inuit language and culture, collective healing and Inuit identity. Originally from Igloolik, Aluki lives in Iqaluit with her family. She grew up in a bi-cultural home as the oldest of seven children. After attaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree in from Trent University, Aluki worked for various Inuit organizations including Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (now Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami) and Nunavut Sivuniksavut. Aluki returned to Nunavut where she has held several senior management positions in the Government of Nunavut and the Office of the Languages Commissioner. Kotierk was most recently Director of Inuit Employment and Training for NTI. Aluki has a passion to empowering and improving Inuit lives and has a keen interest in how Inuit culture and language could be better incorporated into the way programs and services are delivered.

Suggested Readings

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages. (2018). Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation. UNESCO.

Fontaine, L., Leitch, D., Nicholas, A.B., & de Varennes, F. (2017). What Canada’s new Indigenous languages law needs to say and say urgently. National Observatory on Language Rights.

National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2016). Culture and Language as Social Determinants of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Health. Prince George, BC: Author.

Nicholas, A.B. (2011). Linguicide: Submersion education and the killing of languages in CanadaBriarpatch Magazine, March 1.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to action. Winnipeg, MB: Author.

Webster, P. (2018). News – Language barriers restricting access to health care for Indigenous populationsCanadian Medical Association Journal, 190, E754-5. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.109-5613

Registration Details: GoToWebinar – Link

Please note webinar registration is limited to 500 participants. This webinar will be recorded; by registering for this webinar you are providing your consent to this recording. The webinar registration and delivery is in English only.

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