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There are 23 Ininew (Cree) communities within Manitoba and Ininímowin is one of the most widely spoken Indigenous languages in Canada and has 5 major dialects; Western/Plains Cree, Northern/Woodlands Cree, Central/Swampy Cree, Moose Cree, and Eastern Cree. Here in Manitoba, the majority of speakers are “N” dialect/Swampy Cree with many variations in dialect. There is no standard writing system for Ininímowin, but is often written using syllabics or roman orthography.
At Indigenous Languages of Manitoba, we are committed and dedicated to the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous Languages and want to shed light on the dire situations that our languages are in;
Ininímowin has 96 575 speakers in Canada (0.25% of the total population)(Statistics Canada, 2017), with 13 915 of those being in Manitoba (1.02% of the provincial population)(Stattistics Canada,2017). Ininímowin has 2 dialects spoken in Manitoba, Plains Cree (Y-dialect) and Swampy Cree (N- dialect). Plains Cree has a vitality rating of stable (Ethnologue, n.d), as formal institutions are not sustaining the language, but it is being used in homes and communities as a primary language. Plains Cree is considered developing (Ethnologue, n.d) as the language is used regularly and many regulated resources are being created. Swampy Cree, however, has a vitality rating of endangered (Ethnologue, n.d), as it is no longer the primary language that children use. Swampy Cree is considered in trouble (Ethnologue, n.d) because “intergenerational transmission” is in the process of being broken, but there are fluent speakers who are of childbearing age.
Statistics Canada. (October 25, 2017). Census in Brief: The Aboriginal languages of First
Nations people, Métis, and Inuit. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016022/98-200-x2016022-eng.cfm.
Statistics Canada. (2017). Census Profile, 2016 Census.
Ethnologue. (n.d). Plains Cree.
Ethnologue. (n.d). Swampy Cree.
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