the early nineteen hundreds, prior to the residential
school era, the Cree language was in a good state of vocalisation.
When the residential school era came into affect, children
were taken away from their families and placed in schools
many miles away from their homes. Cree children were forbidden
to speak their language and severely punished if they
did. Psychologically, the children placed in residential
schools were brainwashed into thinking that their native
culture and language were evil. Many residential school
students went back to their home reserves not wanting
any part of their native culture or language. The residential
school staff made the children’s lives a living
hell. Students were ashamed to speak their language or
felt ashamed to hear it spoken.
A language census survey was distributed to all the
bands in Saskatchewan. Many bands completed the survey,
some have yet to complete it, while others did not participate
at all. At this time the survey is inconclusive.
In the Qu’Appelle areas, the language is seldom
heard or spoken. In the central part of Saskatchewan,
the language is spoken within a limited vocabulary.
In the Meadow Lake area the language is articulated
a bit more than what is heard in central Saskatchewan.
Within the Prince Albert area, the language is heard
on a regular basis. The language is spoken more fluently
in the north-eastern part of Saskatchewan in areas such
as the Lac La Ronge and Creighton localities.
people believe that language is their identity and it
is what keeps the culture strong. When there is no Native
language, there is no native culture. Language is the
lifeblood that feeds the striving identity of Aboriginal
people. Once the language is lost, there is no hope
of retrieving it. The plain and simple reality is that
there is no motherland where Aboriginal people can go
to retrace and relearn their language, for this is our
motherland. The French language in Canada is quite prominent.
If the French language was to be lost in Canada, the
language speakers could pick it back up from the motherland
of the French language. If the Ukrainian language was
forgotten here in Canada, the Ukrainian language would
still exist in the motherland of the Ukraine. The same
cannot be said of the Bella Bella in British Columbia,
or the Beothuk language in Newfoundland or any native
tongue in Canada.