2019: International Year of Indigenous Languages
Over 6,700 languages spoken across the world are in danger of disappearing. For this reason, the United Nations has proclaimed 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages as a way to raise awareness of these endangered languages and celebrate their importance for reclaiming identities and tradition. Indigenous languages are valuable cultural and historical identifiers that connect people and are important tools for reconciliation, relationship building, and economic, social, and political development.
Riel House National Historic Site is located within the Homeland of the Métis Nation and on Treaty No. 1 land, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Oji-Cree. These Indigenous Peoples and their communities have a notable connection to Riel House.
Riel House National Historic Site is a historically and culturally significant site tied to the Riels, a prominent Métis family. Today, the site commemorates the life of Métis leader and politician Louis Riel, as well as the daily life of a historical Métis family. In the past, the Métis were well known skilled multilinguists and interpreters. They spoke many languages, including their own languages, Michif and Bungi. Michif, a mix of Cree and French, is a dynamic language that has a number of variations which vary depending on the location, history, and other languages of the people within a specific region. Bungi is also a dynamic language, with aspects of Cree, Ojibwe, Orcadian Scots, and Gaelic. Today, Métis institutions like the Louis Riel Institute, are pushing to revive Métis heritage languages and restore the linguistic element of the Métis identity.