Language Preservation & Program Planning

Many communities are making a concerted effort to preserve the varieties of Dene.  Details about and resources for some of these efforts are available online, a selection of which appears below.  Also listed are resources focused on non-Dene languages relevant for networking with others involved in the revitalization of endangered languages.

Language Endangerment

  • Cultural Survival: Endangered Languages is a program organized by a Massachusetts nonprofit, human rights organization to support effective language revitalization at the grass roots level as well as at the state, federal, and international levels.  The program relies on collaboration among numerous parter and advisor indigenous communities.
  • Endangered Languages is a project of the Alliance for Linguistics Diversity.  Google, in collaboration with the First Peoples' Cultural Council  anThe Institute for Language Information and Technology (The Linguist List) at Eastern Michigan University, launched this website "to record, access, and share samples of and research on endangered languages, as well as to share advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen languages under threat."
  • Enduring Voices: Documenting the Planets Endangered Languages is a project of National Geographic.  The goal of the project "is to document endangered languages and prevent language extinction" by identifying the crucial areas of language endangerment and by acting to understand language distribution, to link linguistic diversity and biodiversity, and to focus attention on the issue of language loss. 
  • The First Nations Language Program (FNLG) is located at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. It supports First Nations language revitalization of BC's endangered languages by offering courses, developing educational materials, and conducting research.
  • The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project is a project of The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.  The project provides financial support for the documentation of endangered languages, provides postgraduate training in language documentation and description of endangered languages, and facilitates the archival preservation and dissemination of such documentation materials.

Language Tools

  • First People’s Cultural Council (described in the next section) makes various tech tools and keyboards available.
  • First Voices makes available web-based tools and services to support efforts in archiving, teaching, and revitalizing Indigenous languages of Canada. 
  • Indigenous Language Institute with its homebase in Sante Fe, NM is a consortium of language organizations that provides tools and training to develop materials for language teaching, learning, and revitalization.  They recommend the LanguageGeek resources described just below.
  • LanguageGeek is "dedicated to the promotion of indigenous languages – primarily those of North America."  It offers valuable tools, including free fonts and keyboard layouts, pages dedicated to the descriptions of specific languages, a bibliography, information on language typography, and a blog.
  • SIL International  is a faith-based non-profit organization that offers fonts, software keyboards, and utilities to support language communities worldwide.


  • Cultural Survival is a nonprofit, human rights organization with federal 501(c)(3) status located in Cambridge, MA.  This organization partners with Indigenous people "to defend their land, languages, and cultures."
  • First People’s Cultural Council is a First Nations-run Crown Corporation located in Brentwood Bay, BC. whose efforts focus on the revitalization BC's Indigenous arts, languages, and cultures.  It provides tech tools, mapping resources, and reports.  Its foundation, First Peoples' Cultural Foundation, is a not-for-profit charitable public organization that generates and provides support and funding toward revitalization efforts in BC.  
  • South Slavey Divisional Educational Council is based in Fort Smith, NT, Canada and administers the K-12 educational system for five communities in the South Slavey Region of the Northwest Territories.  The Council's website provides access to language publications and to online databases. 
  • Woodland Cultural Centre is located in Brantford, ON, Canada and administers a First Nations Language Program. It partners with other organizations to faciltate a bi-annual language conference, and maintains an archival collection of materials.

Publications  © Joyce McDonough 2012