October 13, 2005

Naskapi is an indigenous language of Canada

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Region:

2 communities in Quebec and Labrador. Those in Kawawachikamach are about 10 km northeast of Schefferville in northeastern Quebec at the height of land (watershed). On December 15, 2002 most of the Mushuau Innu moved from Utshimassits (Davis Inlet) to Natuashish on the mainland. Natuashish is an isolated community in Labrador.

Population:

Ethnic population: 1,177 (1996). Population includes 677 Western Naskapi, 500 Eastern Naskapi (1996 Ministere de la Sante el des Services Sociaux). 9,070 first-language speakers of Naskapi and Montagnais (1998 Statistics Canada).

Alternate names:

Innu Aimuun, Iyuw Imuun

Dialects:

Western Naskapi, Eastern Naskapi (Mushuau Innu).

Classification:

Algic -> Algonquian -> Central -> Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi -> Naskapi

Population:

1,177. Population includes 677 Western Naskapi, 500 Eastern Naskapi (1996 Ministere de la Sante el des Services Sociaux). 9,070 first-language speakers of Naskapi and Montagnais (1998 Statistics Canada). Ethnic population: 1,177 (1996).

Language use:

Vigorous in both dialects. Slow shift occurring to English. Western Naskapi as language of instruction in school at Kawawachikamach, elsewhere as a subject in school in lower grades, taught as a subject up to secondary level.

Language development:

Literacy rate in first language: 1% to 5%. Literacy rate in second language: 50%. Taught in primary schools. Cree syllabary. Dictionary. Grammar.

Historically

Naskapi culture was nomadic and completely dependent on the migratory habits of the caribou. Caribou hunting and land use still seen as important. Hunting in the bush in watersheds north from Schefferville, west from Davis Inlet.

Naskapi Language
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