Make Way

In collaboration with CanadaHelps

Indigenous Culture and Language Resurgence in the Canadian North

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What is the Indigenous Culture and Language Resurgence Fund?

About MakeWay & Matching Opportunities

Recent events have shown us all that we must take steps to deconstruct the colonial roots of Canada and the systemic racism that has ensued. Indigenous Peoples have been some of the most oppressed and marginalized in this country, and yet are in a period of cultural and political resurgence. We are at a critical period in this resurgence, as Indigenous languages and cultural practices fundamental to Indigenous society are at risk of disappearing.

Today, there is an opportunity to support the preservation and resurgence of Indigenous language and culture, to help achieve self-determination and equity for all. The Indigenous Culture and Language Resurgence Fund is supporting people, communities, and organizations advancing Indigenous resurgence in Northern Canada. This includes amplifying Indigenous leadership capacity, accelerating sustainable economies that align with Indigenous culture, and catalyzing Indigenous governance and stewardship of homelands.

Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian North are some of the most self-reliant in the world, thriving in what can be an unforgiving environment. However, northern Indigenous ways of life are under considerable threat. Residential schools, forced relocations, the giving and extinguishing of rights, and religious coercion have all had a hand in exploiting and disenfranchising Indigenous Peoples in Canada, destroying the potential for widespread cultural sustainability. These colonial efforts to assimilate Indigenous Peoples into Western culture have profoundly negative impacts on connections to communities, homelands, and languages. Having control over language and culture is critical to individual health and well-being, which translates to healthier, more resilient communities; but less than one percent of the Indigenous people in Canada can speak an Indigenous language and three-quarters of Indigenous languages in Canada were deemed endangered or vulnerable in 2017.

Based on initial scoping of critical northern priorities, the Initiative’s efforts have focused on the following:

  • Policy and programming that amplify and promote Indigenous ways of knowing and doing.
  • Indigenous language immersion programs.
  • Culture and language resource development.
  • Connection and sustainability amongst peers leading resurgence work.
  • Language and cultural engagement through the arts.

How will your gift help?

It is imperative that Indigenous languages and cultures persist, and Indigenous and community-led philanthropy are essential to cultural revitalization in the North. You can help advance reconciliation and amplify the sustainable resurgence of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

This fund supports and empowers individuals and organizations to:

  • Increase the long-term sustainability of existing exemplary and scalable community-based culture and language resurgence programs.
  • Catalyze emerging community-based culture and language resurgence programs that have the potential for scalable innovation.
  • Promote knowledge sharing amongst community partners to amplify the adoption of best practices.
  • Influence Indigenous culture and language policy by communicating and advocating best practices.
  • Increase fluency in Indigenous languages and the practice of critical cultural ways of knowing and being amongst community partners in northern Canada.

Who will benefit from this fund?

The Culture and Language Resurgence fund will provide support to many community-led initiatives throughout the Canadian north through our partner MakeWay. Projects supported through this fund will be varied and chosen after due diligence by MakeWay’s northern program staff in Yellowknife and Iqaluit, most of whom are Indigenous northerners. Funding is granted based on established priorities, including early childhood education language immersion, adult education focused on language and culture, cultural and arts festivals, literacy programs offered in Indigenous languages, and youth camps focused on traditional activities.

Some examples of projects that have been supported across the North previously include:

The Indigenous Culture and Language Resurgence in the Canadian North Fund Progress

Become a Matching Partner

If you represent a company interested in partnering with CanadaHelps to match or make a major gift in support of the Indigenous Culture and Language Resurgence in the Canadian North Fund, please contact us at

About MakeWay

At MakeWay we build partnerships and offer tools that enable community-led transformation. The MakeWay Northern program is staffed by experienced northerners, with deep relationships to the communities they live and work in across the North. The Team is made up of:

  • Killulark Arngna’naaq, Northern Program Specialist (Yellowknife)
  • Delma Autut, Senior Associate, Community Initiatives (Iqaluit)
  • Stephen Ellis, Program Lead, Northern Canada (Yellowknife)
  • Lori Tagoona, Northern Senior Associate (Iqaluit)



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