Government of Yukon

March 31, 2017

Statement from the premier on National Aboriginal Languages Day

Premier Sandy Silver issued the following statement about National Aboriginal Languages Day:

“I’d like to recognize that today is National Aboriginal Languages Day. Yukon is home to eight First Nations languages which are Gwich’in, Hän, Kaska, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Tagish, Tlingit and Upper Tanana. The diversity of languages in Yukon brings a richness to our cultural heritage that we cannot afford to lose.

“The Government of Yukon is committed to working with linguistic experts and First Nations to develop and preserve First Nations languages, traditional knowledge, and culture.

“Let’s all celebrate the languages of our territory and think about our role in revitalizing, maintaining and celebrating Aboriginal languages.

“Thank you to all of the organizations and individuals who are working hard to keep these languages alive. Aboriginal languages are an important part of Yukon and Canadian culture.

“Happy National Aboriginal Language Day.”


Shäw níthän

Southern Tutchone

Whitehorse and south-west Yukon
(Carmacks, Destruction Bay, Haines Junction, Carcross)

Máhsin cho

Northern Tutchone

Mid-east Yukon (Mayo, Stewart Crossing, Pelly Crossing, Faro)



Teslin and Swift River area



South-east of Carcross and north-west B.C.

Sógá sénlá’


South-east Yukon and north-east B.C.
(Ross River to Watson Lake)

Màhsi’ choo


Old Crow and northern Yukon

Mä̀hsi’ cho


Dawson area

Tsin’įį choh

Upper Tanana

Beaver Creek area

Quick facts

  • According to the 2011 Census, almost 213,500 people reported having an Aboriginal mother tongue of whom nearly 213,400 people reported speaking an Aboriginal language most often or regularly at home.
  • Seven of Yukon’s eight languages are from the Athapaskan language family.
  • The majority of Yukon Self-Governing First Nations assumed responsibility for Aboriginal languages under section 17 of their Self-Government Agreements in 2008.
  • Yukon’s Languages Act recognizes Canada’s official languages and Aboriginal languages.
  • The Department of Education, in collaboration with Yukon First Nations, the Council of Yukon First Nations, and the Yukon Native Language Centre, supports the teaching of seven of these languages in school-based programs that involve nearly 2,000 Yukon K-12 students every week.
  • The Yukon Native Language Centre provides a range of linguistic and educational services for Yukon First Nations and the general public.


Sunny Patch
Cabinet Communications

News Release #17-060